July, 10, 2019
Friends in Christ,
A day cannot go by without all of us worrying and praying about what is going on at our Southern border and in the immigrant detention centers. All of the Episcopal Bishops in Texas have released a statement about this crisis, outlining scriptural and theological support for the care and compassion for each immigrant while our leaders sort out the legal issues around immigration.
I write today to add my voice to this clear and compelling statement. I also commend the suggested actions in the article, as well encouraging each of you to respond in ways that are kind, effective, and hopeful. Staff and parishioners alike are exploring ways we may become more involved as a parish as we share the love of Christ with the sojourner in our land.
Ways to Help
Project: Go and Do Likewise
We call this initiative the “Go and Do Likewise” project, inspired by the message of the parable of the Good Samaritan where Jesus called us all to help those in peril and dire need. This will be a challenging and exciting journey for our community, which can only be accomplished together–as a body. Please give prayerful consideration to all the ways you can help.
We need 120 people to donate $20 a month (more is welcome) on a recurring basis in order to help a family (or families) get settled in Austin. Please use the link below to set up your donation. One-time donations are of course welcome! But, to help a family truly get settled, or to allow us to help a second or third family down the line, setting up your donation as recurring will help ensure the projects’ endurance. Donations can be stopped at any time.
Mission: To provide housing, financial support, friendship, and pastoral care to migrant families seeking asylum in the United States
As many of you know political instability, persecution, war, and economic hardship around the world continues to drive families to embark on a grueling journey, sometimes spanning multiple continents, to seek asylum on American soil. The crisis on the border is in the news daily, but in Austin, there is a shelter and support capacity crisis for families who are already here and in the process of obtaining asylum. Well-known non-profit shelters such as Casa Marianela are overwhelmed by the number of families seeking asylum. A group of concerned parishioners has met the past few weeks to heed our call as Christians to help those in most desperate need. The asylum seekers in Austin are here legally and, unlike refugees, they have no support from our government while waiting for their asylum hearing. After much deliberation, we believe our community can forge a program to meet these challenging times. The program will consist of three phases, all these phases require significant support of parishioners at St. David’s:
The asylum-seeking families will likely be from Angola or The Democratic Republic of Congo. Their most immediate needs are housing and legal assistance with their asylum petition. St. David’s will rent a home to house up to two families. We will recruit or hire an immigration attorney to help them navigate their asylum petition. For this stage to succeed we need at least 120 parishioners to pledge at least $20 per month for a year. This will take care of housing cost and possible attorney fees in case we can’t secure a pro-bono attorney. You can pledge or make a one-time donation at the link above.
The families will need help in their journey towards independence. Specifically, they will need help: furnishing their new home; enrolling their children in schools; enrolling in ESL lessons; learning the Austin public transportation system, etc. If you are interested in volunteering for this phase, please email Rebecca Hall.
A group of St. David’s parishioners will continue supporting the families with friendship, pastoral care, and other needs. It is our goal to prepare and empower families to reach independence as soon as possible. This could take anywhere from 6 months to a year. If you are interested in volunteering for this phase, please email Rebecca Hall.
Project: Collect supplies for Good Neighbor Settlement House in Brownsville, Texas
Project: Pray Regularly for Refugees, Immigrants, and Asylum Seekers
July 2, 2019 Episcopal Church response to crisis on the border
July 8, 2019 Texas bishops issue border statement
July 14, 2019 Dr. Amy Moehnke sermon: Necessary Neighborliness
July 15, 2019 Presiding Bishop message: Who is my neighbor