A New Year’s Resolution for Immigration

This year, I pray for the Year of the Lord’s Favor for immigrants and refugees. The past years have seen the erosion of policies and practices of a nation that once boldly proclaimed on its Statue of Liberty, “give me your poor, your weary, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” Instead immigrants seeking a better life are arrested and deported without due process, families are torn apart and punished for bringing their children with them, refugees are denied entrance into the US to plead their cases, and circumstances granted asylum are dwindling into nothingness. And I pray for the year of the Lord’s favor.

On December 16 a group of about 70 of the faithful from Bakersfield and other locations throughout the Diocese of San Joaquin re-enacted the journey of Mary and Joseph seeking shelter to birth their child, Jesus. This Posada journeyed to several stations in Bakersfield, including the Mesa Verde Detention Center, where we were chased away after prayers and singing. Although other locations in Bakersfield– a few restaurants, and the Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, turned away the holy family, their rejection was scripted – and they did offer the hospitality of pan dulce. At the detention center, however, the shooing away was earnest: we, like the immigrants in this country were not welcomed. No light was to be shown on conditions there, on the private prison system created in response to the overwhelming number of would-be immigrants now held under detention.

What would the Lord’s Favor look like in the form of a just U.S. Immigration Policy? The Episcopal Church, directed by General Convention and through the work of Episcopal Public Policy Network, has been advocating for Congress to pass a fair and just Immigration Reform for the past thirty years; Such a law would most certainly respect the established borders, but would also provide for immigrants to be admitted and establish a fair and reasonable path to citizenship. Such a policy would create an orderly process, with humane implementation and at the same time, provide economic benefits to the industries dependent on a robust and dedicated worker force.

Let this be a jubilee year for America – let’s make this the Year of the Lord’s Favor!

Deacon Nancy Key
Deacon Nancy serves as a deacon at St James Cathedral in Fresno and is the co-chair of the SJRAISE.
Our Lady of Exile Feast Day:
January 21
You are invited to the celebration of the Feast Day for Our Lady of Exile on January 21 at St Paul's Bakersfield. Evening Prayer is at 5:30pm and Holy Eucharist is at 6pm.

If you are unable to attend, but would like to do the Novena at home (or with a group of friends), please click here for the prayers.
Scenes from Los Posadas in Bakersfield
Prayers of the People for use in Epiphany
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.

As our leaders ponder the future of our DACA recipients;
Let us pray for those leaders to make fair human decisions.

Season after Epiphany:
Jesus as we follow in your footsteps to make God’s kingdom known to man; let us pray for our immigrant sisters and brothers who have left their homes and lives in search of a better world.

Lord as we walk with you on your journey to Jerusalem let us be mindful of others who face hate and danger every day; Let us pray for those fleeing their homelands and those who face hatred in any parts of the world.

Risen Lord as we rejoice in your rising let us be mindful of those who have little to rejoice about. Let us pray for those who have little joy in their lives, those persecuted and alone.

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Episcopal Migration Ministries

Episcopal Public Policy Network

Church World Services

Faith in the Valley
Calls to Action and Training
Civil Dialogue Training: February 15, 2020

Cost: approximately $25

Site: St. Paul's Commons (Episcopal Cathedral Center) in Los Angeles. 

This all-day event will be led by Alan Yarborough, Church Relations Officer with the Episcopal Office of Governmental Affairs. The training will equip folks to lead congregations in engagement on divisive issues based on the curriculum Alan developed for the Episcopal Church, the Civil Discourse Curriculum. 

Call to the Wall: March 28, 2020

Sponsored by the Episcopal Dioceses of San Diego and Los Angeles.   

The Diocese of Los Angeles is organizing a visit to Tijuana earlier in the day to visit some programs assisting immigrants. The Call to the Wall involves a hike along the beach to "Friendship Park" where the border wall extends into the ocean. Details still being worked out. Here's a bit about last year's event:   https://edsd.org/event/via-crucis-called-to-the-wall/