Waves of Faith

There was an interesting court case that I read about this week. In the midst of so much litigation news you might have missed this one, but it has an impact on us as people of faith. It was a lawsuit brought by Hebrew Immigrant Aid and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. This latter Lutheran aid organization is the one we worked with when we sent Christmas cards to children who had been stopped at the border and put into detention centers. The Lutherans have taken this ministry seriously and have represented many Protestant churches in this effort because they have been doing immigration work for a long time. It is where they have real expertise so we follow their lead. Now they coupled with the Jewish community to sue the Trump administration and they won the lawsuit.  Our government was making it illegal to help immigrants and arresting ministers and volunteers who were found to help people on the border, by leaving water or giving them shelter. The lawsuit claimed that it is a violation of our rights to practice our faith when we are barred from reaching out to strangers and immigrants.  The court sided with the religious groups, not the government. The Lutheran and Hebrew Service organizations are busy trying to help immigrants re-settle in communities north of the border. While this fight is far from over, this decision is an affirmation for the work of Church volunteers on the border who are trying to offer humane treatment to legal immigrants and people seeking asylum in a confusing border situation.  42 states have agreed to admit refugees, so there are plenty of places where people can re-settle, and this court decision makes it much harder for the government to hamper the work of church volunteers in trying to help immigrants find new homes that they qualify for. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services’ President wrote “ We don’t expect the Administration to back down from using these vulnerable people as political pawns but we will continue to stand for welcome and trust and pray that the law will still protect the most vulnerable who are fleeing war, violence, and persecution.”  I believe that church agencies are making a difference in these border communities offering hope to people who have fled violence and torture most of us can’t imagine. But what I also like about the court’s decision is that it upholds the rights of people of faith to do this work as an expression of our faith, and commitment to follow Jesus.    Blessings, Rev. Susan Some updates on restoring the Dorcas Room:  We are making good progress in cleaning and organizing the clothing in the former thrift store. We have delivered 15 bags of clothes to Mass Appeal. (The amount of clothing we had was much more than Izzy’s team could accommodate or use.) We have sorted hundreds of books for a big sale on Memorial Day Weekend. We have donated dozens vases to Thayer’s Florist.  This Sunday we could use some volunteers to stay 30-40 minutes after church to help with this effort.   Many thanks to Peggy O’Connor for organizing this effort with help from Becky Sullivan.  We are optimistic that we will be able to finish this project this spring and begin to use the Dorcas Room again for church and community events.  Fingers crossed.  Susan Cartmell

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