In the coming months, you will be hearing more about June being designated a "Immigrant Month". During the month of June, we are asked to remember the hardships and struggles of all the refugees around the world. The United Nations sets aside June 20th each year to honor all those who had the courage, strength and determination to flee their homes in fear of persecution, conflict and violence. To leave their country in order to keep themselves and their family safe, in hopes to be welcomed at the boarders and have an opportunity for a better life.
Even though the United Nation Assembly only declared this day of observation in 2001, we have seen the fleeing of people from their homes for safety for thousands of years. We can even say that we have had refugees since the beginning of humanity. Our Bible shows many stories of people fleeing from persecution and running from their homes to find safety. Joseph of Genesis was forced into Egypt, followed by all of his brothers. This migration eventually led to the whole nation’s enslavement. Moses escaped infanticide by being hidden in the river and eventually led Israel out of persecution and slavery. The Israelites often made their way to Egypt in a region not generally friendly to migrating folk. However, Egypt was a source of food, water, and the possibility of free trade. And then there is of the most remembered story when Joseph and Mary were warned by the visiting Magi that their son’s life was in danger and they immediately fled for Egypt and did not return until the Lord sent an angel to Joseph in a dream to say it was finally safe to go back to Israel, their home country, and chose to settle in a region they deemed safe. 
There have been many more cases throughout history. Sidney Hillman fled to England from Zagare, Lithuania after being arrested for starting an illegal trade union. He later came to the United States and became the president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America in 1914. Albert Einstein 1933 was a refugee who fled the Nazi regime and found asylum in the US. He used his money and influence to secure visas for other refugees as well as standing up against racism and nationalism and founded the organization that became the International Rescue Committee. Madeleine Albright, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and the first female U.S. Secretary of State, was born in Prague. Her parents were Jewish and fled to England when the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939. Although returning to Prague after World War II, they soon became refugees again ending up in Denver 1949. Henry Kissinger, who served as the Secretary of State during the Nixon Administration was born in 1923 in Fürth, Germany. Kissinger and his family fled the Nazi regime in 1938 and settled in New York. After attending school and helping support his family, Kissinger became a naturalized American citizen and served in WWII, first as an infantryman, then as an intelligence officer.  
More than 12 million immigrants came to the United States between 1892 and 1954. Not all in fear of safety or running from persecution but hoping to establish new lives in the United States, We have a well-known statue standing in the middle of New York Harbor that is supposed to be an icon of freedom in the United States, and a symbol of welcome to immigrants arriving by sea. In Emma Lazarus’ famous poem the New Colossus we remember the line "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
So I ask, how have we gotten from there to here? Although we entrusted the United Nations to determine refugee status, and have their Universal Declaration of Humans Rights to follow, we no long adhere to it. The first two paragraph of the preamble of this declaration states, “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world, Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people.” We have the 13th article that states “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. Also, Article 14 states “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.” 
Under the authorization of the president in consultation with Congress, the U.S. accepts a limited number of refugees each year.. The Trump Administration slashed refugee admissions by more than 85%, setting record-low admission caps nearly every year: 30,000 for 2019, 18,000 for 2020 and just 15,000 for 2021. The number of admissions during his term is a massive decline from the average admission cap of 95,000 under both Republican and Democratic administrations since the program was founded.
Let me end with this, we have a lot of work to do! As we proceed through this month and remember all those refugees who have suffered. As we observe the courage, determination and strength of all those who are fleeing for their safety and the safety of their families. Let us recall the words of Jesus and ask ourselves, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Deacon Cathy Kline serves at St. Paul's Bakersfield and is a member of SJRAISE.
From the Interfaith Immigration Coalition

A Faithful Response to the Border: Welcoming Migrant Children and Asylum Seekers.

As promised, here is a link to our new Action Toolkit for Welcoming Migrants where you will find helpful links to additional information, organizations, and resources to engage in individual and group action, including:
  • National and local organizations that work with asylum seekers and unaccompanied children
  • Reflection and worship resources
  • Action alerts and advocacy opportunities
  • Background information on asylum and immigration policies
  • Asylum sponsorship information

Together, we can continue to build awareness, pray for justice, connect with and support organizations engaged in this important ministry, and urge our public officials to humanely welcome children and families seeking asylum.

Wrapped in Love

If you are a quilter and would like to contribute to the Wrapped in Love project, or if you would like to provide financial assistance for mailing and supplies, please contact Pastor Julie at:

To view the video of the blessing of the blankets and hear from Pastor Julie and quilter, Jean Wright, click here
COVID-19 Resources for Immigrants
(in Spanish)

Guía para Inmigrantes de California + Listos California Esta guía proporciona consejos sobre los servicios, incluyendo los beneficios públicos, que están disponibles para los inmigrantes californianos, incluidos algunos que están disponibles independientemente de su estatus migratorio. Visite para obtener más información. 

Calls to Action, Training and Resources
Click here to sign up for the California Immigrant Policy Center's May 25, 2021 Digital Immigrant Day of Action.
The California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC) is a constituent-based statewide immigrant rights organization with offices in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and Oakland. It is the premier immigrant rights institution in the state. CIPC advocates for policies that uphold the humanity of immigrants and refugees while advancing racial, social and economic justice. They are holding the Immigrant Digital Day of Action MAY 25, 2021. They would like people to register to attend the Digital Day of Action. $15 per person to attend.
Stay up to date with online trainings and webinars related to immigration issues across the country by subscribing to the


from our partners at
Interfaith Immigration Coalition
includes important yet easy action items for individuals and congregations!

The Immigration Services Directory, which provides a list of nonprofit community organizations that offer a broad range of immigration-related services in the Central Valley can be found here

If you are seeking opportunities to connect to a community of welcomers and advocates, you are cordially invited to join one of EMM’s ministry networks. These are vibrant virtual spaces for conversation, collaboration, and taking action, together. We would love to have you join us:
  • EMM’s Immigrant Detention Ministry Network meets the first Monday of the month, 12:00-1:15pm(EST) Click here to register
  • EMM’s Asylum Ministry Network meets the third Monday of the month, 12:00-1:15pm (EST) Click here to register



Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) has developed a toolkit for supporting immigrants currently in detention.


Prayers of the People for use in Ordinary Time
SJRAISE Petitions for Prayers of the People:
Easter-Pentecost 2021

Easter Day
Bring into new life, O God, all who proclaim the resurrection of your Christ and shed light upon all those who live in the darkness of uncertainty due to their immigration status.

Second Sunday of Easter
Bring into fullness of life, O God, all immigrants who live hidden and in fear for their safety.

Third Sunday of Easter
Bring into fullness of life, O God, all whose lives and livelihoods are uncertain, all who are hungry and estranged.

Fourth Sunday of Easter
Bring into fullness of life, O God, all those seeking a home among us and fill your people with care for them.

Fifth Sunday of Easter
Bring into fullness of life, O God, the alien and the stranger among us, and attune our spirit to the gifts they bring.

Sixth Sunday of Easter
Bring into fullness of life, O God, all who seek the way of love and turn their hearts to include the stranger as a friend.

Seventh Sunday of Easter
Bring into fullness of life, O God, all who are victims of prejudice and unjust legislation.

The Day of Pentecost (Whitsunday)
Prosper the variety and diversity of people and cultures in our country; may our national life be marked by inclusion, compassion, and justice.

written by Rev. Luis Rodriguez, St Paul's Bakersfield

Prayer in a time of pandemic​
Loving God, throughout the Scriptures you call us to “Fear not!”, but these are troubling times for the hardiest souls. Give us courage to face the challenges of this new threat to your human family. Give us prudence, to do the necessary things to protect ourselves and others. Give us the clarity of vision to learn from this disease the lesson we are too prone to forget, that we are all connected, regardless of race or nationality or political persuasion. We pray for those who are struggling with this disease, that their health may be restored. We pray for medical personnel and first responders caring for those in need, that they remain healthy and unflagging in their life-saving work. And we pray for all those economically impacted, that they may find the resources to maintain themselves and their families.  We ask all this, trusting in your abiding love, a love that even death cannot defeat. Amen.

Written by Deacon Tom Hampson, St John's Lodi

Special Prayers for Immigrants During COVID-19

Oh Lord; in this time of Covid-19 as we take shelter in our homes, we ask you to spread your love and healing over our brothers and sisters held in overcrowded detention centers and refugee camps. 
We ask Lord that you may soften the hearts of those in authority, that them may care for our sisters and brothers in this time of crises.

We ask this in Jesus’s name. Amen

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