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, Diocese of San Joaquin
Into the Beautiful North

A group from our parish has been reading together Luis Alberto Urrea’s novel Into the Beautiful North. It tells the story of nineteen-year old Nayeli and a small band of friends who leave their remote Mexican village – Tres Camarones (that’s right, Three Shrimps) – and embark on a journey to save it.  The dust jacket describes the book well: “Filled with unforgettable characters and prose as radiant as the Sinaloan sun, Into the Beautiful North is the story of an irresistible young woman's quest to find herself on both sides of the fence.” Through the eyes and hopes – and even naiveté – of these young people, we encounter coyotes, opportunistic motel owners, and United States Border Patrol officers; we encounter also people who live among the trash heaps of Tijuana and those living the “dream” north of the border. Perhaps one of the most powerful aspects of the novel is Urrea’s ability to humanize all of them. No one is a stock character, and no one is played for a stereotype. At the same time, he shows us how the concerns of our southern neighbors are the same concerns we have, and can be just as short-sighted. Aunt Irma, the mayoral candidate for Tres Camarones, confronts Guatemalans crossing into the Mexico from the south, saying: “Go back to where you came from!...Mexico is for Mexicans.” Again, there are no stock characters, and each player in the novel is delineated as an individual. It’s what allows us to identify with them and care for them.
           In some ways, Urrea’s character development is the reminder we all need as we consider complicated social issues, immigration among them. Those who live south of our border and who seek a better life in “the beautiful north”, those who patrol that same border, and those detained at the border are not stock players in a political drama. They aren’t one-dimensional characters in a newsreel, and while stereotyping and typecasting them may make it more comfortable or manageable for us to deal with the “problem” as a whole, it distances us from their humanity, and consequently, I would argue, from our own. Beautifully and without hitting us over the head with it, Urrea invites us to see people as people; and more than that, he invites us to honor their individuality, the complicated circumstances and traits that bring them to the various places of their lives. Victims of economic hardship or of injustice, people detained at our borders or the people who patrol our borders, children caught up in the struggles of their parents or caregivers are not statistics or a mass we can color with one brush, but individuals with individual stories to tell, individual circumstances through which they live, individual dreams and disappointments.    Ultimately, engaging with that truth is what saves us from the hard-heartedness of generalities, and the short-sightedness that sees people as merely as categories. Engaging with that truth is what can open our hearts to see our own complicated selves reflected in others, and create bonds that transcend borders, fences, and walls.    

The Rev. Luis Rodriguez is the Priest in Charge of St. Paul's Bakersfield and a member of the SJRAISE Immigration Commission

Advocacy Tools for Loving Your Neighbor
On July 9, The Episcopal Church and The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America gathered for a ZOOM Advocacy training. Among the panelists were TEC Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, as well as ELCA Presiding Bishop, Elizabeth Eaton.

Tips for moving forward with advocacy actions included:

• If you’re not already a member of the Episcopal Public Policy Network, sign up here:
• Our action alerts can be found online at this link:
• Join the conversation on social media @TheEPPN and #EpiscopalAdvocacy
• Find educational resources on the issues we advocate on at our website:

• Build your capacity to engage in richer dialogue with one another on public policy issues by taking our “Make Me an Instrument of Peace” civil discourse class online, through ChurchNext.
• Help us help the Census Bureau get an accurate count for the 2020 Census using the ideas in our 2020 Census Engagement Toolkit, and help get souls to the polls in the election this November by using our Vote Faithfully election engagement toolkit. All of this and more can be found in our civic engagement resources:
• Explore more resources for responding to racist violence and carrying the work of racial justice forward:

You can watch the recorded webinar here:

ELCA Advocacy Tips videos can be found here:

The collection of artwork comes from the Tornillo Children's Detention Camp where close to 3,000 unaccompanied minors from Central and South America were held. Art was a way to express their faith, the love of their family and friends, and pride in their homeland.

Stay tuned for more information about the Virtual Exhibit!

To learn more about the artwork, read this article from the New York Times

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. 

Immigrant Emergency Funds

On April 15, 2020, California’s Governor announced the creation of a $75 Million Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants Project (DRAI) to assist undocumented immigrants who have been economically impacted by COVID-19. The $75 Million in assistance will be used to send a $500 check to an estimated 150,000 eligible undocumented immigrant. These funds have been distributed through local non-profit organizations starting on May 18th and will be available on a first-come first-serve basis until the funds run out.

To find out more information about how to apply for these funds, please click here
Calls to Action and Training
World Refugee Day Resource
World Refugee Day was June 20th and in support the courage, strength and perseverance of millions of refugees, Global Sisters Report is offering a free, downloadable copy of "Seeking Refuge".

You can get your copy here.
Updates from CA Day of the Immigrant:

“Dreamer” Resource Liaisons: 
The final budget agreement rejects the Governor’s May budget revision proposal to eliminate a $5.8 million annual allocation for support services related to career, academic, and financial aid opportunities for DACA grantees. The final budget agreement provides $5.8 million ongoing Proposition 98 General Fund to support the program. 

Refugee and Unaccompanied Minors School Grants: 
In 2017, the state provided $10 million in funding, available for three years, to establish the California Newcomer Education and Well-Being (CalNEW) grant, which helps school districts meet the needs of refugee students and unaccompanied minors. The final budget agreement maintains the Governor’s January proposal for a $15 million one-time allocation over three years to assist school districts in improving the English-language proficiency of newly arriving students while supporting their academic and personal well-being.

Immigration Justice Fellowship: 
The final budget includes funding for the Immigration Justice Fellowship Program and the Youth Civic Engagement Initiative. Both programs were fully funded in the 2019 budget.
Prayers of the People for use in Ordinary Time
SJRAISE Immigration prayers for all congregations Year A 2020

The following biddings are meant to be added, and modified to the current Prayers of the People format used by each congregation. The intention here is to include one bidding regarding Immigration for each Church Year Season. The reference to DACA recipients may be included at any time as the issue is being reviewed and decided currently.

Petitions for Prayers of the People
(contributed by Rev. Luis Rodriguez & Deacon Amy Larsen)

2nd Sunday after Pentecost thru 8th Sunday after Pentecost (June 14-July 26)
Lord God, be with those who seek our nation’s welcome, and with all those living in uncertain circumstances. Sustain them in hope, and challenge our own self-satisfaction in the face of their needs. 

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


At a time when we are all vulnerable to COVID-19 and feeling scared and uncertain, may we remember that refugees continue to be particularly vulnerable - many children, women, and men live in refugee camps where social distancing is not possible and healthcare is not accessible. May we hold our refugee siblings in prayer.
God of new life,
As your people seek refuge in a time of uncertainty,
When borders are closed, resettlement halted, and services limited,
May your presence be known:
You have not abandoned them, the refugees.
When Mary wept at your tomb, you came to her.
Unrecognized at first, but you were there
With arms open to receive.
May we, the global community, imitate you,
Bringing comfort to the brokenhearted here on earth.
When all seems lost along the journey, with the world sealed off,
may we be there, despite the distance,
With arms open to receive.
Prayer from Jesuit Refugee Service

Sign up to hear from our partners!
Episcopal Migration Ministries

Episcopal Public Policy Network

Church World Services

Faith in the Valley

Artisans Beyond Borders