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

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Every year about this time, the EDSJ Immigration Commission meets for a day and a half planning meeting. Last year, we met in ECCO and after a very productive time left excited about the work we’d accomplished and the plans that we’d made for the coming year… 2020.

So, you know how our, and your, and everyone’s plans were upended by the COVID virus. In this reflection we wanted to talk about some of the work we were able to complete, the improvisations we managed in the face of our drastically changed context, and what we see ahead for our work in the coming months as a result of this year’s planning meeting… via Zoom, of course!

This SJRAISE newsletter, expertly edited by Canon Anna Carmichael, was one initiative that we were able to complete despite our assorted disruptions. Readership has increased throughout the year and we’ve gotten rave reviews from immigrant advocates from many parts of the United States. We invite you to share it with friends who carry a passion for immigrant justice. 

Similarly, our Facebook page, EDSJ: A Safe Place for All God’s People, increased it’s number of followers three fold! We would invite you to follow us as well, of course, and to share our posts with your networks.

The Commission co-sponsored a Posada with St. Paul’s Bakersfield under the leadership of Luis Rodriguez+ and several other local groups on December 16, 2019. A great turnout and wonderful community support made for a memorable event that included a stop at the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center. Plans for a 2020 Posada sadly had to be canceled due to COVID.

Immigrant-centered Prayers of the People were authored by Nancy Fitzgerald, Deacon Amy Larsen, and Luis Rodriquez+ for use by parishes throughout the Diocese, tailored to fit the seasons of the liturgical year.

Plan B:
Uncaged Art:  Due to COVID restrictions, our plans to mount a traveling exhibit of art produced by children while they were in detention in cooperation with the University of Texas in El Paso had to be shelved. Instead the planning team led by Cathy Kline produced a video of the art with narrative interpretation by the two persons most responsible for preserving the art in the El Paso area. The video is available on the Diocesan website and will be shown at Convention.

No Longer Strangers: Plans to offer this series of Bible studies related to immigration in a parish had to be modified due to COVID. Instead, an online version via Zoom that was ably led by Commission member Julia Schardt for the entire Diocese in August.

Looking Ahead:
Enhancing our website: Look for a new and more engaging site by November.

Third Annual Border Ministries Summit: Join with members of the Immigration Commission in this valuable educational event. Due to COVID this year’s summit will be online, but still promises to be very informative. It will take place Nov. 20-21, 2020, and is sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego. For more information and registration visit the event website.

Farmworker Outreach: In collaboration with Commission member Nelson Serrano Poveda+, EDSJ’s Hispanic/Latino Missioner, and Faith in the Valley, we will be beginning an outreach to the farmworker community of the Central Valley, among the most vulnerable people in our community, especially in these COVID days. Stay tuned.

Uncaged Art: COVID restrictions permitting, we still plan to mount a traveling exhibit of the art fashioned by children who had been detained at Tornillo Detention Center that’s featured in our video. Our intention is to mount an exhibit in each of our Deaneries. Again, stay tuned!

As confining and frustrating as our COVID-framed life has been, it’s also forced us in various ways to adapt and improvise solutions that might not have arisen other wise. We wouldn’t have created the Uncaged Art video unless we were forced to. Moving to online education platforms was not on our horizon a year ago. Nonetheless, we in the Commission, like all of you, have found creative ways to “get it done”. May it always be so!

We are grateful for your continuing interest and support of the work of SJRAISE, and your passionate advocacy for immigrants in our midst.

Deacon Tom Hampson and Deacon Nancy Key
Co-chairs of the Immigration Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin (SJRAISE)

A Moment of Global Remembrance

During this time of social distancing caused by COVID-19, we are seeking ways to safely engage with those who are committed to keeping remembering the thousands of people who have died and disappeared along the U.S./Mexico border in search of a better life. We are asking people to film themselves reading the name of a person who has died crossing the U.S./Mexico border in Southern Arizona, along with the details of that person’s death.

We understand it may be difficult to speak these things out loud, but we hope this can be a way for people to both bear witness to the harsh realities of U.S. Border Patrol policies and keep the memories alive of the thousands who have died in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. Through this digital participatory event, communities from around the world will be able to come together virtually in a global moment of reflection.

Our goal is to capture 3200+ individual voices reading out loud the names of those who are memorialized in HT94 before the 2020 Presidential Election. We will compile these recordings into a single public video that will visually and aurally speak to the immense loss of life that has been caused by America’s border enforcement policies.
We recently surpassed 1,000 participants, but still need more 2,000 than volunteers to reach our goal. 

Please consider joining us right now
in this powerful moment of witnessing!

To participate, email:

All recordings must be complete by October 10, 2020
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
3rd Annual
Border Ministries Summit

Join us for the Virtual Border Ministries Summit 2020 and hear from those at the center of the immigrant community in San Diego. Our focus will be on Christian Peacemaking in a World of Conflict. Learn from undocumented people, deportees, first generation immigrants and Christian leaders who live in Tijuana and San Diego. We will hear from Episcopal / Anglican Bishops and other leaders on both sides of the border, as well as from the Border Patrol and legal experts. We will not only learn about immigration but will be equipped with tangible Christian Peacemaking practices to live out in our own contexts as Everyday Peacemakers. The pain is real and the opportunity for transformation and healing is as well. This is the Third Annual Border Summit, designed for Episcopal and other Christians wanting more information about the US-Mexico border, and for those who want to learn the basics of becoming Christian Peacemakers in this time of deep division.


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.

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

In August, Netflix released a six-episode docuseries titled "Immigration Nation" and Time Magazine, the LA Times and the NY Times are all calling it "the most important docuseries in 2020".  Co-directors Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz’s six-part series offers a complex, 360-degree view of the American immigration system, combining in-depth research, empathetic storytelling and bold investigative journalism into a uniquely urgent humanitarian appeal. 

To read more about the docuseries, check out the following articles and be sure to catch this important series on Netflix!



From the Office of
Government Relations (TEC)



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


An Update on DACA


US is detaining migrant children in hotels


Resolution to be a Diocese of Holy Welcome and Advocacy
(to be voted on at Convention)

Resolved, That the 61st Convention of the Diocese of San Joaquin declares itself to be a Diocese of Holy Welcome and Advocacy for immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees;

Resolved, That the Diocese of San Joaquin and its congregations join with other immigrant rights allies to educate, organize and advocate for just and humane federal immigration and refugee polices that protect the safety and security of all immigrants and refugees;

Resolved, That the diocese designates the Sunday nearest June 20 (World Refugee Day) as Immigrant/Refugee Sunday, and that annually on that Sunday, each congregation take a special collection in support of the work of the EDSJ Immigration Commission;

Resolved, That each congregation select one member to serve as liaison to the Immigration Commission in their congregation;

Resolved, That in accordance with Scripture and our Baptismal Covenant, the congregations of the Diocese of San Joaquin discern ways they may serve as places of welcome, refuge, and healing to protect the dignity and human rights of all people including immigrants and refugees;

Resolved, That the Diocese of San Joaquin though its Immigration Commission, assist in equipping and supporting each congregation in identifying ways to extend Holy Welcome and Advocacy to immigrants and refugees.

Explanation: Throughout our country’s history immigrant families have suffered on the margins of our society. They have been scapegoated during difficult economic times and victimized by harsh anti-immigrant ordinances passed by some states and localities. Because of increasingly hostile policies, migrants and immigrants in this country fear more than ever the break-up of their families, the loss of homes and business, and the destruction of the lives they have built in this country, often over decades.

Of particular concern are the efforts to target and deport millions of undocumented immigrants, including veterans who have served honorably in the US Military, utilizing “Expedited Deportation” without Due Process for individuals NOT convicted of a felony or violent crime, and threatening to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that has granted temporary relief for thousands of young people in our communities and families with U.S. Citizen children.

As people of God, we believe that Holy Scripture calls us to welcome the stranger (Deuteronomy 10:19, Leviticus 19:34, Matthew 25:35), and therefore as a people of faith we commit to challenge oppressive systems and build structures and communities that reflect God’s compassion and justice.

This resolution puts our faith into action by standing with the growing number of communities of faith, cities, colleges and organizations declaring themselves places of welcome, refuge, and healing for those targeted by hate due to immigration status or some perceived status of difference. What does it mean to be a diocese of Holy

Welcome and Advocacy?
• Education & Advocacy including signing petitions, attending hearings on relevant legislation, and/or participation in civic demonstrations;
• Accompaniment of Immigration Families or Youth, which usually involves members of the congregation, supported by the prayers of the congregation, accompanying families to hearings and providing emotional support;
• Networks of Protection & Rapid Response, which can involve being present at ICE raids to ensure compliance with law and accountability;
• Practical assistance for persons facing deportation and support of individuals and families seeking refuge.

Submitted by: The Rev’d Deacon Nancy Key and The Rev’d Deacon Tom Hampson

Endorsed by: EDSJ Immigration Commission (SJRAISE)
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

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Episcopal Migration Ministries

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Faith in the Valley

Artisans Beyond Borders

Undocumented Migration Project