A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Waldo
Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matthew 25:35)
Over and over, Jesus calls his disciples to live with compassion for one another, to share with others, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, to see strangers and aliens as “neighbor,” and to love even our “enemies” and those who hate us.
The migration crisis at our southern border has created a searing tension within our nation and, more important, within our own souls. Jesus doesn’t suggest we show compassion and love, he commands it. Thus, we cannot ignore the suffering of these refugees, many of whom are fleeing from violence and deprivation in their home countries. Whether these refugees enter a legal process toward asylum or citizenship, enter illegally and are caught and held, or caught and deported, we must act within the promises of our baptismal covenant, seeking and serving Christ within each. Whatever we think about border security, these migrants are our brothers and sisters in the human family. They are neighbors. Most are brothers and sisters in Christ through baptism.
Obedience to Jesus cannot include separating families. It cannot include depriving thirsty and hungry migrants of food and water or basic sanitary conditions. Whatever policy decisions emerge, we must be compassionate and expect our public servants to respect the dignity of every human being.
Many of you have expressed interest in how we, individually and corporately, might help support the work to alleviate suffering and welcome the asylum-seekers and migrants at the border, especially families and children. Many of these individuals carry stories of violence and persecution, seeking refuge in the United States.
Here are a few ways we all can support this work:
The Dioceses of Texas and the Rio Grande have partnered with Catholic Charities to aid families and children. You can support this work by purchasing items from the Amazon Wish List, which will be shipped directly to Catholic Charities: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/Z41DT14S8VAB?pldnSite=1
Money can be donated directly to the Diocese of the Rio Grande to support their work at the border here: http://secure-q.net/Donations/BosqueCenter/18839
For those of us hoping to deepen our engagement and take advocacy actions for all migrants in need of protections (asylum-seekers, refugees, and others), I invite you to explore the Partners in Welcome learning community and ministry network of Episcopal Migration Ministries, and dream of ways you might be a Partners in Welcome member, as an individual or as a congregation.
May the blessing, grace, and peace of Christ be with you always.
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Waldo, Bishop
The Episcopal Church in Upper South Carolina
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