Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God. -Leviticus 19:34
Senior Pastor Rachel Baughman of Oak Lawn UMC in Dallas received 55 asylum-seeking people from Central America last week. They will stay for a few nights of care and nurture before they move to their sponsoring families elsewhere in the U.S. where they await their respective hearings.
Our Church Council agreed unanimously to stand by to assist in ways that are helpful, including the collection of toiletry items to give to other UMC’s like Oak Lawn. The Rev. Andy Lewis, our Bishop’s assistant and a part of our church, is keeping us apprised of helpful next steps. I am grateful for his keen coordination at the Conference level and the Rev. Diane Presley’s coordination at our local church level. This is one example of how our North Texas Conference is mobilizing to receive the immigrant into our lives. Stay tuned for how you can assist in this border and humanitarian crisis.
To be clear:
These asylum-seeker families are completely vetted and lawful and coordinated at the border by Customs and Border Patrol.
Most of them are fleeing crushing poverty and violence in Guatemala and Honduras.
These sisters and brothers are families; there are no unaccompanied children or youth.
Their stays at local churches, mostly in Dallas, are brief.
Thank you in advance for your prayers for pastors like Rachel and churches like Oak Lawn who, like us, are “wired” to open their hearts and doors to those in need. It is opportunities like these that make me proud to be part of this Wesleyan connection, always seeking to spread, “scriptural holiness” across the land and across borders, uniting people as God’s children.
Connecting God and Grace to Self and Community,