“The Soul of our Collective Life”

Dear Ones,
We have all been disheartened and deeply troubled by the scenes and stories of children being separated from their parents as a matter of policy by our government.   Having traveled to El Salvador several times in the past few years I can say I have seen firsthand the fear and violence these people risk their lives to flee.   Personally I no longer care whose responsible for this policy, Democrats, Republicans, Congress or the White House.  I am more concerned as to which of these bodies will muster the courage and decency to change it.   These acts, done on our behalf by this government, do not reflect the values of our faith.    No matter how much one might attempt to use Scripture to condone it, the life, ministry, and witness of Jesus Christ can in no way be shown to do so.
I preached tonight at the ordination of Brian Lenstrom to the Priesthood.  As part of my sermon I said the following:
We are a long way from our other border, the one to the south, where we see ourselves living out a reality, I believe, as people of faith, we must question.  Being a people and a country of laws is one thing, and I would walk that line with you a long way, but how we enforce them is fundamental to the soul of our collective life, as a country and as a people.    
As our Presiding Bishop said many times throughout his recent visit to the diocese, “Bankers count money, politicians count votes.” Make your voices heard, make them count your vote!
The Department of Justice’s comment line is tracking calls. You can speak to them at 202.353.1555
Additionally, we have put together an Immigration Advocacy Guide, with links and ways to contact your congressional representatives and local political leaders, as well as petitions and other resources.   You can find that document by CLICKING HERE.
There are two events in Seattle and one in Olympia being held in support of the detained asylum seekers and families separated at the border and I would encourage you all, if possible,  to attend and show your support.
COMMUNITY BRIEFING ON DETAINED ASYLUM SEEKERS – WORLD REFUGEE DAY
Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle | Wednesday, June 20, 9:30am-11:30am
Hosted by the Church Council of Greater Seattle
On this annual United Nations World Refugee Day, the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis in our own backyard demands action. On Wednesday morning, Saint Mark’s Cathedral is hosting the Church Council of Greater Seattle’s Community Briefing and Action Forum on behalf of the 209 Central American asylum seekers who were transferred to the SeaTac Federal Detention Center last week. They have been detained for over a month without receiving their credible fear interviews and many have been separated from their children and have not been in contact with them for weeks. Speakers include attorneys from the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), ACLU, and Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). Come learn more and stand up for our commitment to welcome the stranger, as our Scriptures demand!
SEATTLE CATHEDRALS JOIN TOGETHER FOR PRAYER AND PROCESSION FOR FAMILIES AT THE BORDER
Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle | Thursday, June 21, 7:00pm
On Thursday, June 21 at 7:00 p.m. all are invited to join a prayerful vigil and procession beginning at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral and ending at St. James Catholic Cathedral in Seattle. As people of faith, we stand in solidarity with all the migrants and asylum-seekers who come to our borders, fleeing violence or simply seeking a better life for their families. We protest the inhumane separation of children from their parents. This will be an opportunity to gather together for prayer, and to bring our prayerful witness to the streets of our city.
If you have any questions about these events, please contact: The Rev. Canon Nancy Ross, nross@saintmarks.org
CONCERNED CLERGY OF OLYMPIA AND INTERFAITH WORKS VIGIL, THURSDAY JULY 21st, 7 p.m.
A vigil has been organized by Concerned Clergy of Olympia (CCO) and Interfaith Works for this Thursday the 21st at 7pm outside Olympia City Hall in response to the recently implemented federal policy of separating children from their parents at the US border.
The following statement has been issued by Concerned Clergy of Olympia and Interfaith Works:
We, the members of Concerned Clergy of Olympia and Interfaith Works, stand opposed to the immoral and harmful practice of “zero tolerance,” which has resulted in separating children from their parents as part of the current administration’s approach to immigration policy. We are particularly troubled by the use of biblical precedent to invoke support for such practices. Rather we heed the biblical command “the stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love them as yourself” (Leviticus 19:34), and call upon our national leaders to end this current policy. We affirm Olympia’s status as a sanctuary community, and uphold the values of the Olympia Charter for Compassion, which recognizes the inherent worth and humanity of all people.
We invite the greater Olympia community to a vigil opposed to family separation this Thursday, June 21 at 7:00 p.m. outside Olympia City Hall.
Clergy and lay members of faith communities, concerned neighbors of all ages, organizations that advocate for children, immigrants and refugees, are all welcome. Please feel free to bring signs expressing peaceful messages. We come together in peace.
For more information, contact Interfaith Works:
Phone  (360) 357-7224
Email

office@interfaith-works.org 

Interfaith Works
P.O. Box 1221
Olympia, WA 98507360-357-7224

Blessings,
+Greg