I’m attending a conference right now in Illinois about immigration and the church. And I have been incredibly moved by so many of the personal stories, the images and videos of raids and border crossings, the statistics, the songs from across the world, and the witness of people of faith. It has been not only informational but inspirational. (wow, that sounds so cliche).
Before I get too far away or let the thoughts escape me, here are some of the important moments so far for me:
From Rev. Joan Maruskin
- “I greet you in the name of the migrant, refugee Christ”
- What are three groups that God specifically tells us to care for? The widows, the orphans and the strangers/migrants/foreigners/immigrants
- our journey of faith is a communal migration story
- in 1849, the state of Pennsylvania had a choice between making german or english the official state language. english won by only one vote.
- st. benedict – closing the door to the stranger is closing the door to the sacred
- Jesus’ family fled to Egypt after his birth… if they had fled to the US today, Mary, Joseph and Jesus would have all been sent to separate detention facilities to await trials before they would be granted the status of an asylee.
From Diane McClanahan and Barb Dinnen
- immigrants who had fled from Central and Southern American countries where they faced political and religious persecution and those around them were “disappeared” came to the U.S. and in the Swift raids in Marshaltown, Iowa – again faced “disappearance.” No clergy, no lawyers, no family was allowed in to see the detainees – and no one knew where they would be taken or what would be done with them.
- The story of Arturo – a young boy whose parents were deported after the Postville raids. His dad wanted him to be a vet, but now, the young boy wants to be a lawyer.
- Recently, ICE agents raided a church in North Carolina.
- From Denny Coon, UM pastor in Iowa: story of a man with two daughters. He makes $5/day in Mexico or he could cross illegally into the U.S. to work for $7/hr at a Wal-Mart in Michigan… what would you do as a parent?