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
There is always something we can do

In preschool our son was taught Stranger Danger – this led to interesting conversations in the grocery store. In line at the grocery store I’d begin talking with someone and Brendan would very loudly and accusingly say: “Do you know that person?” “ No.” and I’d hear: “Then that person is a stranger and it is dangerous to talk to that person. You should not do that.” It took a while to modify his view of others.

I wonder in 2020 what this time of Pandemic will do to this world as far as our view of the stranger – the other- in our midst. Especially the marginalized, those who are most apt to be victims of this disease. When the message right now is to isolate in your home, do not let people in, they might carry the virus, it is dangerous. How do we see those essential workers who are not pictured as the heroes at the hospitals – those who work in the fields, who do the physical care for our elderly, who do manual labor and are getting sick?  People who are different - color, language, culture, status and finance?

This is a world of scarcity not enough PPE, or ventilators, or medication, or money for unemployment benefits for those who are not citizens, especially for those who are not documented. 

We privileged few, who are isolated, who may not know anyone who has had the virus, who are able to stay home, and pay our bills are being overwhelmed by 24/7 COVID-19 that takes the air out of every news cycle. We who experience depression and anxiety that can be debilitating – I just can’t take any more bad news. We need to refocus, to look for the events not on the news. Metaphorically: Pay attention to the man behind the curtain. WAKE UP!

A month or so ago a politician said to never let a good crisis go to waste, a lot can be done, much can be changed, while no one is looking. While no one is looking laws can be changed, rights can be violated, protections removed in the name of safety and they can become the new normal. 

SJRAISE is working to pay attention to what is going on behind the curtain on Immigration. The Supreme Court is going to rule on DACA this spring. Right now in the name of the pandemic courts are closed, legal processes are limited or ignored, movement is restricted, internment camps are closed to all, and oversight is basically eliminated. 

Dear God, let us not get so caught up in the fear and the chaos that we ignore the work we must do to meet the need. Turn our hearts toward the work we can do to help those kept in the shadows.  We may not be able to physically witness the situation, however, we can act. 
We can open the emails from SJRAISE, we can write letters and make phone calls to elected officials, and we can support the Governor’s ruling to pay unemployment to those who are undocumented as well as those with green cards - with no threat to their future immigration process. 

We can Pray. The Theologian Richard Hooker writes of prayer saying, that all else in our life depends upon time and situation; at all times it is convenient to pray. When we can’t do anything else -prayer is always in our power to offer, and never in others to refuse. Prayer changes us, it changes those for whom we pray, and it can change the world.

Nancy Fitzgerald is a laywoman from St Raphael's Episcopal Church in Oakhurst and a member of SJRAISE.

In the month of June, join the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations and Episcopal Migration Ministries for Love God, Love Neighbor: Episcopal Month of Action, a series of webinars to learn and advocate with and on behalf of immigrants, DACA recipients, refugees, and asylum seekers.

Newcomers contribute greatly to U.S. communities, enriching our common life, strengthening the U.S. economy, and bringing joy as they join and reunite with families and friends. And yet, immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees face a wide array of challenges, including federal policies and legislation that are outdated and do not address the realities of immigrants in America today. As the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement, we are called to advocate with and for our siblings seeking safety and a better life in the United States.

June 7-13: Episcopal Action on DACA Week
WEBINAR: June 9, 3:30-5:00pm Eastern Time

June 14-20: Episcopal Action on Resettlement Week
WEBINAR: June 16, 3:30-5:00pm Eastern Time

June 21-27: Episcopal Action on Asylum Week
WEBINAR: June 23, 3:30-5:00pm Eastern Time

Participants may choose to attend one or more of the webinars offered. Registration is required  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. 

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 18 th  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
From our friends at
Episcopal Migration Ministries:

Connecting Neighbors  
allows individuals and congregations to fill the gap and directly support refugee families resettled by EMM.  

EMM’s network of 13 refugee resettlement affiliates continue to serve newly resettled refugee families and in very difficult circumstances. Several needs top the list right now: 

--Financial contributions for rent payments. Affiliates need financial support to keep refugee families housed and safe during the pandemic.
--Material goods to support refugee families. Items are detailed on Amazon WishLists. 

--Digital devices. Most importantly, affiliates need donations of gently-used digital devices – tablets, smartphones, laptops – so they can continue providing services and support to refugee families.  

If you’re like me, you’ve been living in the tension of caring for your own and your family’s needs while not forgetting about our newest American neighbors, wondering what you can do from home that would make a real impact. Thanks to my colleagues at EMM, I realized the answer was right in front of me: that old iPhone in my desk drawer… my husband’s old laptop in the closet. 

We look forward to hearing from you and helping you direct your donations to affiliates and refugee families in the greatest need of connection and support.

To make a donation, follow this link:
California Day of the Immigrant 2020

videos from the day can be found by going to:
Photos from online
Nuevo Amanacer
(Latino Ministry Conference)
Prayers of the People for use in Easter
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.

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

1 st Sunday after Pentecost: Trinity Sunday (June 7)
Lord God, hear our prayer for the entire household of humanity; strengthen us in our concern and care for one another. Let neither ideologies divide us nor borders restrain us from living out the common life we share in you.

2 nd Sunday after Pentecost thru 8 th 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
The Immigrants Creed

I believe in Almighty God, who guided the people in exile and in exodus, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel. The God of foreigners and immigrants.

I believe in Jesus Christ, a displaced Galilean, who was born away from his people and his home, who fled his country with his parents when his life was in danger, and returning to his own country suffered the oppression of the tyrant Pontius Pilate, the servant of a foreign power who then was persecuted, beaten, and finally tortured, accused and condemned to death unjustly.

But on the third day, this scorned Jesus rose from the dead, not as a foreigner but to offer us citizenship in heaven. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the eternal immigrant from God’s kingdom among us, who speaks all languages, lives in all countries, and reunites all races.

I believe that the church is the secure home for the foreigner and for all believers who constitute it, who speak the same language and have the same purpose.

I believe that the communion of the saints begins when we accept the diversity of the saints.

I believe in the forgiveness of sin, which makes us all equal, and in reconciliation, which identifies us more than does race, language, or nationality.

I believe that in the resurrection God will unite us as one people in which all are distinct and all are alike at the same time.

Beyond this world, I believe in life eternal in which no one will be an immigrant but all will be citizens of God’s kingdom, which will never end. Amen.
In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, asylum-seekers with small children and few resources are stuck on the border. They can't go forward and they can't go back. With the help of other local NGO's, volunteers are finding innovative work-arounds to accept Handmade work & return funds for them across the border.

To learn more about Artisans Beyond Borders and the handiwork they create, please click here

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