Dear colleagues and friends,
We know that many of you join us in being concerned about the urgent humanitarian need at our border and in our communities as thousands of refugee children flee violence and instability, seeking a safe haven here in the U.S.
Photos of overcrowded facilities and political grandstanding on the issue have captivated the media, but the national conversation has yet to reflect our faith values and our commitment to compassion and caring for children. Too many of these children are scared and alone, desperate for someone to accompany them and care for them as they seek a future that will be brighter than their past.
We hope you will join us for an Interfaith Weekend of Compassion and Prayer for Unaccompanied Migrant Children, July 18-20, from sunset to sunset.
This coming Monday, July 14, we will have a resource packet ready for you online that will include worship guides in the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim tradition that you can draw from for language for liturgies, prayers, bulletin inserts or announcements, as we join together in prayer for these refugee children and their families. We will also send along materials that speak to the plight of these children.
During this interfaith weekend of compassion and prayer, we hope you and your community of faith will also join us in a letter-writing campaign to inject a much-needed dose of compassion into the national conversation and to send a message to these children that they are not forgotten.
Writing letters to the migrant children can be a great activity for small groups, Sunday School classes, coffee hours, Vacation Bible Schools, and for individual parishioners to work on from their homes and with their families. The website www.TheyareChildren.com will go live on Monday, July 14th with additional information on submitting your own letter, drawing, or photo to a child and holding them in prayer.
We are also inviting you to be ready to join us in reaching out to congressional leaders and calling upon them to rise above politics and respond to this humanitarian crisis with compassion and respect for the rights of these vulnerable ones in our midst. The resource packet will include information to help us do so.
I hope you’ll join us in sending love and support to these children in need and helping us to move away from a polarized and hostile narrative to a narrative of compassion and justice that reflects our faith values.
Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop
The United Methodist Church
Bishop J. Jon Bruno
Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles
President, Los Angeles Council of Religious Leaders
A little Mother's Day history... Before there was Anna Jarvis, there was Julia Ward Howe, who first called for a worldwide Mother's Peace Day in 1870 to demand an end to the slaughter caused by one war after another. Here is her Mother's Day Proclamation:
Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Say firmly:
"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, "Disarm, disarm! The sword is not the balance of justice." Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each learning after his own time, the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.
I wish a blessed international Labor Day to all my friends around the world. On this day, the struggle continues to support the workers who keep our world moving... to treat them with well-deserved dignity... and to ensure that their labor is rewarded with compensation adequate to meet their needs.
It is a long and hard struggle, as yesterday's congressional decision not to raise the US Federal minimum wage makes abundantly clear. But it is a struggle that is worthwhile.
The Bible is clear in its call for workers to be treated with justice, generosity and dignity. Let us remember Isaiah's vision of the new heaven and the new earth, a vision that clearly incorporates justice and hope for workers:
65:22 They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. 23 They shall not labour in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the Sovereign God — and their descendants as well.
Amen. May it be so!