Our Hopes & Prayers for the Border
Posted: Mon, Jul 1, 2019
Welcoming the stranger (the “immigrant,” we could say today) is the most often repeated commandment in the Hebrew Scriptures, with the exception of the imperative to worship only the one God. And the love of neighbor (especially the more vulnerable neighbor) is doubtlessly the New Testament’s constant command… Whatever the cause of immigration today, there [...]
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Welcoming the stranger (the “immigrant,” we could say today) is the most often repeated
commandment in the Hebrew Scriptures, with the exception of the imperative to worship only
the one God. And the love of neighbor (especially the more vulnerable neighbor) is doubtlessly
the New Testament’s constant command… Whatever the cause of immigration today, there can
be no doubt as to where the Church must stand when it comes to defending the immigrant.
– Theologian Orlando O. Espin
I write this with a very heavy heart. One that I know that many of you feel, too. As the crisis
regarding family separation and detention continues at the border and new atrocities are
reported, I have asked myself repeatedly, “What can I do to help?”
Clearly, I’m not the only one asking this question as numerous articles have poured out recently
about what the best organizations are to donate to, where to volunteer, and where to send
supplies. With effort to not be redundant, I am providing to you a few ideas of how we might
respond beyond prayer as people of faith:
1. SERVE. The Presbyterian Church has long been responding to the needs of immigrants at
the border. These are a few of the Presbyterian border ministries currently accepting
volunteers, which I am happy to help you explore and arrange:
- Presbyterian Border Ministry, http://fronteradecristo.org/
- Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, https://www.presbypeacefellowship.org/spirit-accompanying-support-accompaniment-in-agua-prieta
- Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (scroll to TX for refugee ministries), https://pda.pcusa.org/page/work-teams-locations/
- If traveling to the border isn’t an option, I encourage you to join our church’s efforts in supporting our local Latinx community which has its own undocumented community within it. Three ways you can become an ally to this community with us is through tutoring at Bear Creek Elementary School, supporting a Saturday activity program called Friends of Jesus, or joining our legal accompaniment team through the Immigrant Solidarity Network which is currently accompanying a young Honduran family in the asylum process.
2. LEARN and then EDUCATE OTHERS. The following are Presbyterian or Presbyterian
partners that I know and trust to learn the issues, hear stories, and become better
equipped to take action. Each are currently offering immersion trips that I highly
- Texas Courts and Port, https://pda.pcusa.org/site_media/media/uploads/pda/pdfs/courts__ports_promo.pdf
- Global Immersion, https://globalimmerse.org/immersion-trips/san-diegotijuana/
- Borderlinks, https://www.borderlinks.org
- Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/peacemaking/travel_study/central-america-travel-study-seminar/
3. ADVOCATE. God used ordinary people like David, Esther, and Moses to bring about
changes in our broken world and God uses ordinary people like us to continue that work
through advocating for changes in policies and social structures that hurt others. Write
letters to the editor and your elected officials about the immigrants who you know in
our community, those you are concerned about at our border, and the biblical basis for
why you welcome and care about them.
4. ADDRESS THE ROOT CAUSES OF MIGRATION. To do this, we need to commit to working
harder in addressing poverty, conflict, and environmental degradation in other
countries. During the month of July, our Guatemala team will be sharing about the
longstanding work they have been doing in that country. It is ministry efforts such as
this that increase stability, improve health, and support education that are important for
us to support.
5. EXAMINE WHO WE ARE. I hesitate to add this to the list as it’s never a popular option.
Hard choices need to be made about who we, as individuals and as a church, want to be
in this world. Our actions, whether through consumption or in foreign policy, are having
devastating impacts on others and what we are seeing will only get worse unless we are
willing to become the reconciling, peacemaking people God calls us to be. I confess I
resist this myself and instead often choose to rest easily in my privilege and comfort. Yet
Jesus continues to invite us into another way of being. One where we all belong to one
another as brothers and sisters in Christ and where relationships and generosity
transcend power and possessions.
Should any of this speak to you and you want to dive deeper into serving, learning, advocating,
and transforming alongside others at First Presbyterian, I would love to fold you into our work.
You and your compassionate action are needed now more than ever.
Prayer for migrant children and their families. ❤️