Bishop Brown teamed up with Bishop Robert Deeley, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland, and staff to discuss their recommendations to protect Mainers from food insecurity in the months ahead with Senator Susan Collins.

The bishops asked the senator to consider supporting:
  1. Increase SNAP benefits for all households until objective economic indicators demonstrate that the economy has stabilized.
  2. Suspend the SNAP 3-month time limit until the economy can provide enough jobs for all. 
  3. Suspend the federal rulemaking proceedings related to outstanding federal rules that would severely restrict access to SNAP for older Mainers, people with disabilities, and others with very limited incomes.
  4. Protect the health and safety of older Mainers and those with serious health problems by expediting access to online shopping and curbside delivery for SNAP households.

Last week we received a copy of a letter from Senator Collins and Senator Joseph Manchin addressed to the Secretary of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue. The letter from the senators conveyed those points shared by Bishops Brown and Deeley.

You can read the letter here .
Episcopal Relief & Development and US Partners Respond to COVID-19

Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting Episcopal Dioceses in the United States in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The organization’s US Disaster Program is providing resources, technical support and funding to meet specific needs related to the pandemic in communities around the country.

Since mid-March, the US Disaster team, in partnership with the Presiding Bishop’s office, has been holding weekly calls with bishops and key leaders in Episcopal dioceses to address the novel coronavirus pandemic. Initial steps included faith-based resources to help bishops and diocesan staff determine how to safely conduct services and to maintain community in a pandemic. As the pandemic progressed and states issued stay-at-home orders, the US Disaster team offered weekly webinars on a variety of topics such as mental health, isolation, institutional support and immigration, as well as other resources to help diocesan partners address the widespread impact of the coronavirus. The US Disaster Program continues to provide technical support as partners determine how to best respond to the unique needs in their communities, whether that be mental health care, medical care, financial assistance or other needs.

Read more here .

Poor People's Campaign Moral March Goes Digital

The Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington is going digital! On June 20th, they will hold the largest digital and social media gathering of poor and low-wealth people, moral and religious leaders, advocates, and people of conscience in this nation’s history. A global pandemic is exposing even more the already existing crisis of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and militarism, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. On June 20, the 140 million poor and low-income people across this nation will be heard!

Christian Leaders Call for Fourth COVID-19 Response Bill

Washington, D.C. – A diverse group of Christian leaders from the Circle of Protection, including The Episcopal Church , call on Congress to “quickly pass a fourth COVID response bill that addresses the needs of our country’s struggling households.”

They sent a letter to Members of Congress yesterday calling for a fourth response bill because they believe God is especially concerned with the plight of people living in poverty – and a key moral measure of government policies is how they treat those Jesus called “the least of these” (Matthew 25:45).

The letter specifically urges Congress to: pass a temporary increase SNAP benefits; provide additional international assistance through bilateral and multilateral channels; ensure all immigrants can access testing, treatment, and other forms of assistance; reestablish a flexible emergency fund for states; ensure free, fair, and safe elections; ensure a safe and accurate 2020 Census count; provide additional direct support to poverty-focused charities; and, protect vulnerable borrowers from short-term loans.
MENJ Advocates for Immigrant Families
As Mainers grapple with a scary pandemic turning our lives upside down, it is critical to ensure that immigrant families are not abandoned in our federal response. Low- and middle-income immigrants are disproportionately impacted by the economic and health effects of this crisis,1 and comprise an outsized percentage of our essential workforce. COVID-19 does not discriminate, and neither should our public health and economic stimulus policies.

The Families First Coronavirus Response and CARES Acts left low- and middle-income immigrant families out of our nation’s recovery plans. Families with at least one taxpayer with an individual tax identification number (ITIN) are completely cut out of the recovery rebates. This means that hard-working people without documentation as well as mixed-status families (many with US citizen children or spouses) are going without the vital cash infusion that their neighbors are receiving from the government. Moreover, the legislation failed to expand Medicaid to immigrants who currently cannot access it, including DACA recipients, Temporary Protected Status holders, green card holders who have had permanent residence less than five years, people without documentation, and countless other Mainers.
Immigrant Detention During COVID-19: Prophetic Action & Compassionate Response . This seventy-five-minute webinar (May 19 - 4 PM) will include clergy and lay leaders from the Dioceses of Georgia, Ohio, and Western Louisiana with professional and ministry background in different models of detention visitation ministry. Registration is required and available  here . Participants are invited to email questions for the panelists in advance to .
Peace Action Maine's annual Peace Maker Award , which usually goes to an individual, was given this year to Maine Voices for Palestinian Rights .  

This award inspires the group to continue the relentless activism they practice on behalf of justice for Palestinians, a justice that shall indeed come.
Reconciliation is the spiritual practice of seeking loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with God and one another, and striving to heal and transform injustice and brokenness in ourselves, our communities, institutions, and society.