Feeling trapped is scary. As the Psalmist’s words remind us, however, God comes to those who are stuck. This was the case in the Old Testament with exiled Israel—caught in a geopolitical and geographical conundrum, with its oppressors on one side and the daunting Red Sea on the other. Nowhere to go but “up,” so to speak—to turn to a God who listens. And, critically, one who responds.
In the New Testament, that response is embodied in the Word of God, Jesus Christ, whom we are called to imitate and whose true world we are called to enact. It is a world of emancipation, of a fellow-freeing of the oppressed, and of living as a resurrected people. It is a response needed by so many: those stranded at our country’s (and Diocese’s) southern border; those on military bases and in Afghanistan awaiting resettlement; and those huddling en masse under bridges, in tents, or worse. And in recent days, fresh horrors have surfaced of migrants being used as pawns at borders in Eastern Europe.
A few weeks ago, as these multiple crises of forced migration continued to dominate the headlines, our Diocesan Migration Taskforce emerged from a period of discernment about how God might be calling Episcopalians in the Diocese of San Diego to incarnate God’s response. With much humility, we sought to begin a conversation and a journey, the initial fruits of which are summarized in a set of ministries we pray will help us collectively to manifest Christ’s risenness by welcoming, healing, and empowering our newest neighbors. Through various modes of engagement—service, advocacy, worship, education, and stewardship, we have sought to catalyze a response that illustrates that ultimately, God’s heart has no borders.
We invite you to review, reflect upon, and pray about this document, which was previewed at our recent Diocesan Convention and is available here. Perhaps you will feel called by a particular proposed or active ministry, or simply want more information. Perhaps you will have something new to propose. Perhaps your reaction will be part of an ongoing response you have already begun to make regarding these difficult issues—or the beginning of one.
Our Diocesan Migration Missioner, Troy Elder, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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