On Tuesday the EPPN (Episcopal Public Policy Network) and EMM (Episcopal Migration Ministries) aired a webinar on recent policy changes and the fluid nature of the border crisis. Bishop Michael Hunn of the Diocese of Rio Grande (which includes El Paso in far west Texas and the entire state of New Mexico) talks about supporting the asylum seekers first in the diocese, and now with a shift in government policy, getting resources to asylum seekers in northern Mexico and Juarez.
This is not a story we’re seeing in the media, which tends to report a polarized political narrative. Bishop Michael talks about the families seeking asylum, why they are coming, and what they have lived through. He speaks about current and longer term needs, particularly pastoral needs.
“We are hearing in Juarez, and it has certainly been the case here in the shelters in our diocese, that there is a need particularly for Spanish speakers, but also for clergy who could work through interpreters to provide pastoral care. The people who are coming don’t just need food and they don’t just need clothes. They’re often frightened, they’re depressed, and they’re worried. Part of what is keeping me up at night is the stories that I’m hearing from the asylum seekers currently being sheltered in Juarez with Padre Hector. Those folks are feeling very depressed and frightened that they will never be able to get into the United States, they are frightened of going home, and they don’t know where to stay. They’re feeling very much lost and abandoned. We as a Church need to provide pastoral care and help.”
- Watch the webinar replay
- A compilation of resources and actions in response to the needs at the border and the unaccompanied children in detention
- Additional resources developed by the Episcopal Church and partners
- Recent ENS article on Episcopal response on immigration issues through advocacy and outreach
And, if polarized political conversation is making it harder to have dialogue, don’t forget EPPN’s newer Civil Discourse Curriculum, to better understand and practice civil discourse as it relates to politics, policy, and legislation. Understand why civil discourse is so important to living out our Gospel call and solving the problems facing our communities, country and the world. Designed for church groups or for personal reflection, with family, or in small groups in your neighborhood or community.
*** Taken from the Diocesan weekly email, iSeek, sent out on Wednesday, July 3, 2019 ***