Hands of Christ in a hurting world

Episcopal Churches continue to live into their ministries – being the hands of Christ in the world in the midst of global and local crises.

The Immigration Bill is stalled and may die in Congress leaving many immigrants in a limbo world of jobs needing employees, willing workers and burdensome laws.

A group of church leaders have begun a New Sanctuary Movement to house illegal immigrants facing deportation in churches across the country. Law enforcement officers generally do not enter church grounds to make arrests unless lives are at stake.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Long Beach, CA joined the New Sanctuary Movement to protect illegal immigrants facing deportation in churches across the country. Law enforcement officers generally do not enter church grounds to make arrests unless lives are at stake.

Last Friday, Liliana, who refused to give her last name, took up residence at St. Luke’s…. She has three small children who were born in the United States and are citizens, but she has been told she is ineligible for legal status because she entered the country with a fraudulent birth certificate from her native Mexico several years ago.

“We are not criminals or bad people,” she said in a recent interview. “We just want a way to work here and provide for our children.”

Read the article HERE

In Cave Creek, AZ, Good Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church offers a safe place for day laborers to wait for possible jobs in the booming construction industry and other emploment. According to The Arizona Republic real-life consequences are playing out at this northeast Valley church where immigrants go to find work.

Cave Creek officials are steeling themselves for a heated hearing Monday, when residents will revisit the practices at Good Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church. The Rev. Scott Jones, a former Miami accountant and business owner, arrives at his new job at Good Shepherd just as the debate begins.

“Doing ministry to the poor and oppressed in the world is a big part of my attraction to them,” said Jones, who will be ordained at the church in July.

The enterprise at the church has been a generally peaceful practice for workers and employers, and has been seen by many as a useful alternative to workers hanging out on streets.

“Generally, unofficially, the town has been very supportive for the reasons we helped get it started,” said Father Glenn B. Jenks of Good Shepherd. “I think they feel it helps alleviate some of the problems in the community. It hasn’t eliminated them, but it’s helped make them better.”

Jenks said that the people who object to the program usually do so because of their attitudes toward migrant workers in general.

“They would like to believe that if they can make life miserable enough here, people will go home,” Jenks said. “They’re mistaken in that notion. What they have gone through to get here has been, in many instances, so horrific and so difficult there’s nothing you can do here to make it worse than what they left.”

Read the article HERE

From the Norwell, MA, Mariner the story of mutual sharing of gifts:

A number of unique circumstances have combined over the past two years — circumstances involving two cousins who are both priests and who are both named Elizabeth — to inspire an upcoming trip that a group from St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Hanover will embark upon this month to the Gulf Coast.

On the exact day that Hurricane Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast at the end of August 2005, the Rev. Elizabeth Wheatley-Jones was hired as the new pastor of Christ Episcopal Church in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

As the storm hit, some other candidates for the position decided to back out, but when she was offered the job, Rev. Wheatley-Jones, feeling she had been called to serve in that place, at that time and at that church, took the job and got to work.

And there would be a lot of work to do.

For starters, the church building itself was completely destroyed in the storm.

About one year later, in the fall of 2006, Rev. Wheatley-Jones came to the South Shore, and paid a visit to her cousin, the Rev. Elizabeth Wheatley-Dyson, who at the time, was serving as interim pastor at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Cohasset.

During that visit, the Rev. Wheatley-Jones gave a presentation about Katrina and the storm’s aftermath to her cousin and her (Rev. Wheatley Dyson’s) Cohasset congregation.

After hearing the presentation, Rev. Wheatley-Dyson was inspired to organize a group from the South Shore to travel to the Gulf Coast to help out in some way.

Read the rest here HERE

The Charlotte Observer reports on Family Promise – a network of churches that help folks in need of transitional housing, part of a national program. It uses community resources and church volunteers to help families on the brink of homelessness get back on their feet.

Ben Hill and his church, Christ Episcopal Church, brought the nationwide program to Charlotte after he saw it in action at his brother-in-law’s church in Memphis, Tenn.

“I was lamenting the fact that the kind of things we were doing in Charlotte to help the homeless were probably doing us more good than the people we helped,” said Hill, board president of Family Promise of Charlotte.

“My brother-in-law, Bob Lassiter, took me to his church to see the program. I got some of my friends from different churches together, we talked about it, and we were able to start a Family Promise Network here.”

Read the rest here.

Past Posts