Dear Ones,

I want to use this blog to talk about two human crisis in our world where, as Episcopalians, we can have a direct impact and connection and to offer information on how anyone who wishes might help.

First, the Middle East and specifically Jerusalem and Gaza.  I received this information from Janet McCully, member of St. Mark’s Cathedral and a Board member for the American Friends of the Diocese of Jerusalem.  In addition, our diocese has a long standing companion relationship with the Diocese of Jerusalem.   In my former parish we had a direct connection and gave regular support to Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza.  With the current unrest, bloodshed and death the need at the hospital has become critical.  Here is the text of the letter from the President of the American Friends.

Gaza Update

Reports from around the world show a mounting death toll in Gaza, and no end in sight. The Egyptian government, often a mediator in Israeli/Hamas confrontations, remains silent and has sealed the tunnels and borders. Humanitarian aid is not getting in and those suffering in Gaza have to rely on their own resources to aid the wounded and feed their children.

While many governments and the Christian Patriarchs in Jerusalem have called for calm, negotiation and respect, the way forward is far from clear. Latest word is that a ground attack is still a possibility.

How much more can the civilian population endure? They face polluted water, extremely limited power supply, shortages of everything from medical supplies to building materials.  

And through it all, Al Ahli Hospital and its heroic staff treat those in need with compassion and skill.

AFEDJ can get funds to the Hospital. They can purchase fuel, food, and whatever medical supplies are available. It’s possible to do something to address the need and do it now. Pray, stay current and support those suffering in a desperate situation.  

Blessed are the peacemakers.

Anne K. Lynn, President

You can give here

Second, the human crisis along our southern borders.  Our Presiding Bishop wrote of this this past week.  You can find that article here

Greg Hope, the Director of our Refugee Resettlement Office reports that

One of our State contracts was terminated Tuesday, along with the DSHS contracts made with 100% of the organizations that receive federal “Social Service” funding through Washington State.  Our funds were diverted to help unaccompanied minors at the Mexican boarder with food, shelter and clothing as they wait to see immigration judges who will deport them.  If the 4 billion request to Congress is passed, our contract will be reinstated.

So, you can see, the lack of funding does have consequences in other places.  I have to say I am disheartened by the reaction of some of our fellow citizens in demonizing the children that have arrived.  In my mind, they are every bit the victims of the actions or inactions of those who claim to be adults here and elsewhere.  Yes, this country needs an immigration policy, but we have elected people to see to that.  Our energy needs to go toward expecting more of them, less schoolyard Jr. High brawls, and more cooperative work for the good of this country and those around it who look to us to lead.

I have had requests from some congregations and individuals to sponsor some of the detainees.  That is not possible at this point.  This is not the same as the Viet Nam situation and others we have faced and the government, at this point, has not made a way for this to be possible.  Meantime Greg Hope does remind me that he is continually settling refugees from Iraq and other countries and should you, or your congregation, be interested in helping in these situations sponsorship is needed and helpful.

Several of our deacons and others are working on the most effective ways for us to respond to this crisis and as they offer those I will see that you get them.

Until then, no matter what your feelings about these issues, we cannot forget the innocent ones that simply have to live in the middle of our chaos.  Keep them all in your prayers.