AN URGENT MESSAGE FROM THE BISHOP AND BISHOP-ELECT
Dear Friends and Family,
 
We’re writing today to respond to the humanitarian crisis suddenly unfolding in southern Maine.
 
Scores of asylum seekers are arriving in Portland. Eighty five folks, including many children, have already arrived and 150 more expected in the next couple of days. No doubt we all have feelings about this, but welcoming the stranger is not about politics or policy right now. This is about doing what Jesus would have us do: taking care of people in need.
 
This crisis is unfolding as we speak, and we do not yet know its full dimensions. The anticipated needs of the asylum seekers and all those working to welcome them are growing by the hour.
 
The Diocese is doing what we can to be of assistance, including, but not limited to, coordinating with all of you to make sure everyone who wants to help is able to make a difference. We have donated $10,000 to assist with initial emergency services.
 
Right now, sharing the information we have is the best way to engage. Our friends at the Maine Immigration Rights Coalition have shared the information below:
 
Information on Shelter

The America Red Cross has begun setting up 600 cots in the Portland Expo and the Preble Street Service Center will provide meals.

MIRC in collaboration with Catholic Charities Refugee Service is coordinating the following ACTION ITEMS.
 
1.     Interpreter Services USE THIS LINK:  Interpreting Volunteers for Emergency Shelter 
2.     Bus pickups from Greyhound Bus Station Schedule Pickup: 7:30am; 2:30pm ; 7pm
3.      Volunteer help with feeding  at Expo

Other Primary Needs 

·         Interpreter services: Portuguese, Arabic, Swahili, French, Lingala
·         Need 5-6 interpreters with 5-6 intake workers (as soon as this afternoon at 3-4pm)
·         TEXT TO DONATE: If you wish to make an immediate donation, you can do so by text as follows: EXPO to 91999

The “least of these” that Jesus spoke about are right in front of us. We are committed to doing our best to help the city and our partners manage this challenging time. Asylum seekers are coming to Maine because of the hospitality, love, and understanding that we have shown for many years.
 
We will keep you updated as events unfold. Please watch your emails and social media feeds in the days ahead. Please keep these new Mainers and those who are responding to their needs in your prayers.
 
Faithfully,
The Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane
Ninth Bishop of Maine