United Methodist Response to Migrant Family Crisis
“This, this is where children belong, welcomed as part of the worshipping throng. Water, God’s Word, bread and cup, prayer and song, this is where children belong.”
I heard this song being sung in my house this morning by our 6-year-old, who, like so many of the children in the Vista Ridge family, have grown up hearing those words in worship every week. I’m thankful that Vista Ridge UMC is a place where children are loved, treasured, nurtured and welcomed in worship.
Indeed, this is a place where we live into the truth that every human being is a beloved child of God, no matter where they’ve come from, no matter their circumstances. I think that’s why so many of us have been so deeply troubled by the migrant family crisis that’s happening on our border with Mexico. The immigration issue is a complex one that we all know needs to be addressed. But the trauma of being separated from their parent(s) will have a long-lasting effect on the lives and hearts and spirits of these children. My heart longs to do something.
I’m thankful for the United Methodist response to the crisis. This past Sunday, a group of pastors from Highland Park United Methodist Church traveled to West Texas to the camp in Tornillo housing some of these migrant children. They brought worship, crafts, prayer and presence to the 350 boys and 35 girls in the camp. Here’s what Reverend Elizabeth Moseley said about the experience:
“They loved it all. They loved making the prayer bead necklaces and bracelets. They loved receiving the little paper notepads, pens and pencils. And then the worship – the worship! As piercingly bright as it was outside, nothing was as bright as the light in these children’s faces as we worshipped together. They sang the songs loudly, with abandon. They knelt, stood, bowed their heads, prayed out loud, eyes squeezed closed, tears streaming down their faces. They worshipped their God as if their lives depended on it. It felt like their lives did depend on it.”
The group has been asked to return this Sunday, to be the “dedicated clergy” on a week-to-week basis since there’s no clarity for how long they will be needed. As you can imagine, the last-minute travel expense from Dallas to El Paso is significant. If you would like to financially support this ministry of the United Methodist Church, go here.
In addition, the bishops of the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church (Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas) are calling on United Methodists who want to do something to be part of the Write to Reunite campaign.
I look forward to being with you in worship this Sunday. I’m praying for you. I hope you’re praying for me.
Glory to God!
Pastor Mary Beth