If you have migrated to America or have persons who migrated to America and are concerned about your or their immigration status, I want to encourage you to meet our PCUSA national immigration attorney, Teresa Waggener, May 31st or June 1st. She is coming to New York City Presbytery at our invitation to meet with persons and their pastors concerned about their status Friday May 31st from 2:00-5:00 PM at The Interchurch Center; and Saturday June 1st from 9:00-11:00 AM at the Rutgers Presbyterian Church. Please reach to those who may want to speak with her. The process of migrating and staying in this country has become fraught with difficulties.
When my ancestor Andrew Caldwell migrated to America in the mid-1700’s from Scotland, his “immigration papers” included nothing more than a baptismal certificate from his Presbyterian Church. Perhaps it also reflected his belief that “in God alone” could he place his trust. He also sought out a Presbyterian congregation once here.
Within our congregations are persons like my ancestor Andrew who find their church or fellowship to be a safe and supportive place where hope in God is renewed each week. The remainder of the week may not go so well. There are fears of getting deported if all papers are not wherever ICE or USCIS or DHS want them to be. One of our members is facing that now; and pastors too. One church has seen a drop with immigrant members wanting to walk to the church for a Bible study. I want you to be aware of the fears that persons in our congregation carry related to the lack of a clear national immigration policy and the practices of ICE – Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Funding immigration attorneys can be costly and do not always produce paid-for results. Many of us who are citizens can remain oblivious to the plight of our own Presbyterians.
On May 31st, I encourage you to view “Genesis of Exodus” at the Broadway Presbyterian Church Friday, May 31st at 7:00 PM. It is a documentary made by the Presbyterian Church, interviewing migrants at our Southern border and those who work with them. While different people will hold different views about those migrate to America, our Biblical grounding requires us to study what God asks of us in our treatment of the sojourners and foreigners in our congregations in our country. One big assistance is simply to befriend and accompany persons in your congregation as they live and walk an uncertain path whether they and their family may be separated tomorrow or allowed to remain in America and in your congregation. You can help fulfill something Jesus left for us to do.
“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…Truly I say to you, as you did it to ne of the least of these, you did it me.” Matthew 25
Rev. Robert Foltz-Morrison