Voice of the Vestry: deployed to the Border
by Glen MacPherson
Turns out the dark blue operational dress uniform (ODU) is excellent camouflage in Sonoran scrub. At least when it's pitch black out. There I was, a card-carrying member of the ACLU hunting illegal migrants a stone's throw from "the wall", exhilarated. Three weeks ago I was putting Nancy Johnson in touch with the Air Station's leadership to coordinate food distribution from the Pantry to fellow Coasties about to miss their second paycheck. Then I was plucked, in the middle of a funding crisis centered on immigration, and deployed by the Coast Guard to the landlocked Southwest Border. We live in interesting times.
Following the December deaths of 7 year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin and 8 year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo in Customs and Border Patrol custody, the agency came under pressure to intensify its screening of migrant children. The Coast Guard and the US Public Health Service stepped forward with a rare asset: deployable federal physicians unrestricted by the Posse Comitatis Act. Two CG corpsmen and I spent fourteen ten-hour days in the CBP's Tucson Coordinating Center, a migrant detention and processing facility just outside Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Migrants are processed a
nd detained for only 1-3 days at the facility before moving on, either to deportation, conditional release, or detention in an ICE facility.
Our primary mission was to ensure no child died in CBP custody. Our secondary mission was to promote the children's good health and address the health concerns of the adult population. We integrated into the facility's CBP team and were daily impressed by their dedication, professionalism, kindness, and esprit de corps. In Traverse City, if I run an errand on the way back from work in uniform, I'm often greeted and thanked for my service. By contrast, some CBP agents have been poisoned with pesticides in public restaurants. Church pantries do not reach out to feed the families of unpaid CBP agents. Municipal monuments are not erected, cities don't compete for the title "CBP City, USA", and parades are not led by CBP agents waving to adoring crowds. Yet, which of these sister agencies within the Department of Homeland Security demands harder work, more dangerous exposure, and greater personal sacrifice?
On our busiest day, the Air Force flew my team in a Blackhawk to a CBP facility in Ajo, AZ where 243 migrants were dropped off by buses, walked across the border, and "gave up." We screened 130 children that day. Back in Tucson we cared for blisters, cactus injuries, dehydration and sore muscles. We wrestled with interesting cases: adults with full beards claiming to be 17, an American smuggler who demanded her Percocets for chronic pain, a woman 8 months pregnant complaining of abdominal pain, evaluated by the ER multiple times, and children who seemed fearful, detached, and sometimes abused by adults whose claim of parenthood was doubtful.
At sunset, on a ride-along patrol to Sasabe, AZ,radio chatter indicated a group of migrants coming down a wash we'd just passed. "Want to go for a walk?" asked the agent driving. And so I found myself a stone's throw from the border searching in the dark for camouflaged migrants, guided by a distant helicopter directing us to a suspicious "hot spot" on FLIR. We converged with other agents apprehending two men that night, "likely Honduran", said my guide, judging by their stature.
For more than a decade I've taken pride in actuating H.W.'s derisive label of Michael Dukakis by actually carrying my ACLU membership card in my wallet. But now I also take pride in wearing my CBP hat. What we believe is so much a function of what we are exposed to, who we talk to, what we listen to, where we live, what we do. My deployment to the border was a rare gift of immersion in the other side, opening my eyes to the nuance on the ground and the perspective of those who live in that world. Judy Wu Dominick writes, in "The Christian Mandate to Subvert Tribalism":
"In a society saturated with hateful and increasingly violent tribalism, nuance is a love-infused, subversive force. A surgical tool that cuts away the scarred portions of our identities, it liberates us from the false narratives that the world and the Devil insist on feeding us. As a countercultural value, it is the careful discernment that honors our collective human interdependence and prevents us from making death-dealing incisions between ourselves and others. Only with nuance can we enter the grand story about God's radical and redemptive love for every single human being made in his image."
I hope to take that gift of nuance and let it shape my relationships and viewpoint for years to come.
February Vestry meeting highlights
Our vestry meeting this week was a busy and spirit filled session. Here are a few of the highlights:
- We welcomed Mike Cotter and officially appointed him to the vestry, filling the position left by Julia Hogan.
- Tim Sinclair joined us via conference call - so we put the Grace by-law updates into action in our first official meeting!
- We discussed the hiring of a part time Cleaning Caretaker as well as Maintenance Caretaker and approval was given. Interviews are in process.
- The Discernment Team continues to make steady progress towards calling our new rector.
- We also discussed our upcoming church schedule. Lent is right around the corner, and we have many exciting things planned. The theme for the Wednesday sessions is Bee Not Afraid! More information to follow.
- Vestry installation will be at all services the weekend of March 9 and 10.
- Grace is hosting the Bishop's Workshop on March 30.
We closed our meeting with the review of our mission statement:
We are an Episcopal church committed to Welcome, Relationships, Outreach, and the Transformational Power of the Spirit.
is the new bulletin board in the Parish Hall to provide information and inspiration for becoming more fully involved in the life of Grace Church. The theme will change each month and there will be a short reflection on the theme each month in the Grace Life bulletin insert and in the Friday Gracevine email. February's theme is the Heart of Grace-see how Grace comes to life in service and love in big and small ways!
Congratulations to Cole Harding!
Winner of the 2018-2019 Geography Bee at East Middle School
Cole will compete in the state finals this spring - way to go, Cole, and good luck in the state finals!
We are now using oil rather than wax candles at our worship services, and find ourselves with an excess of partially used large candles. Do you know of anyone who perhaps makes candles or uses them for a variety of reasons? If so, have them contact Sue Bush or Kay Rickard.
Altar Flowers & Sanctuary Lamp
The Altar Flowers are given this weekend by St. Anne's Altar Guild, to the Glory of God. The
Sanctuary Lamp is given this weekend by The Rev. Kathryn Costas, to the Glory of God and in thanksgiving for her ordination to the priesthood.
Worship Participants this weekend
Kate Wood, Eucharistic Minister
Tony Nelson, Lector
Anne Montgomery, Eucharistic Minister
Penny Campo-Pierce, Connie Riopelle, John Strickler, Eucharistic Ministers
Pat Storrer, Jeff Wescott, Lectors
Steve Wade, Intercessor
Dan & Sue Bush, Welcomers
Service attendance last weekend
Feb. 16 & 17, 2019
Sat. 5pm 28
Sun. 8am 7
Sun. 10am 114
For the month ending Jan. 31, 2019
Total Operating Income: $34,705
Total Operating Expenses: $33,497
Mortgage Balance: $287,029
Safe Harbor benefit concert March 3 at 3p
Interlochen Arts Academy Choirs will perform a FREE concert at Central United Methodist Church beginning at 3:00pm. Repertoire will include Spirituals and settings of poetry by refugees and the wrongfully imprisoned. Donations will be collected to benefit Safe Harbor and their work in our community. We hope you will join us!
Fundraiser 'Dinner from India' at Grace
March 8 at 6:30p
Sponsored by Sojourn Church
$30 per person or $200 for table of 8
George Ebenezer will share how he and his team are reaching out to children and teenagers who have gone through abuse (sexual, physical, verbal, mental) in India. "In the last 22 years of our work with kids and teens in Christian and Non-Christian contexts, we began to see the need to deal with EMOTIONAL TRAUMA. First, in India there is lack of awareness about this. Second, there are not many professional places to deal with this. We have been passionately working with kids and teens, but we strongly sense the leading to get into a place of Professional Care (evidence-based research and strong biblical foundations). Children need more than a "time heals all wounds" approach to promote healing and restoration. Our Initiative will strongly impact the way orphans are cared for in India. Our dream for a Child Healing Centre has begun!" There are two opportunities to come and hear about what God is doing, and how you can be involved. March 8th, at 6:30pm, at Grace Episcopal Church, there will be a Fundraising Dinner, with authentic Indian cuisine. March 9th, at 6:30pm, a free informational meeting/Q&A time/prayer time, at Sojourn Church. email Jill: firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information.
Grace Kids Night Out April 12 from 5:30p to 8:30p
We are planning a "Grace Kids Night Out" (parents, you have a few hours to your selves!) for children pre-school through fifth grade on the evening of Friday, April 12th. The evening will last from 5:30-8:30 and the kids will have the opportunity to enjoy dinner, activities, a craft, popcorn and a movie. The evening will be adult supervised. A sign-up sheet will be located on the bulletin board in the Parish Hall and more information will be available soon.
Grace Stitch & Chat Circle Continues
every Tuesday at 10:30am - JOIN US!
All needleworkers welcome!
For more information, contact: Sandy Seppala Gyr via email at: email@example.com; or via phone at: 703-597-7925
Morning Prayer 10:00 am
Men's Prayer Group 7:30 am
Centering Prayer 11:00 am
Holy Eucharist 5 pm
Holy Eucharist 8 am
Holy Eucharist 10 am
& Daily Prayer
This Weekend's Readings
The Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany
Genesis 45:3-11, 15
1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50
Psalm 37:1-12, 41-42
Next Weekend's Readings
The Last Sunday after The Epiphany
2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
The Daily Office
John & Foy Minnema
Did you know Grace has 2 prayer lists?
* To be added to the prayer list found in the bulletin contact
** If you would like to be added to the Daughters of the King (DOK) prayer list and be prayed for daily,contact Penny Campo-Pierce at 231-946-1224 or
341 Washington St.,
Traverse City, MI 49684
For Pastoral Emergencies
The Rev. Kathryn Costas
Staff Contact Information
What's Happening at Grace?
What's Happening in our Diocese?
What's Happening in the National Church?
National Church website
Turn in your Oleson's receipts to benefit the Grace Food Pantry!
Oleson's Community Share Program
Here's how it works:
- You shop at Oleson's for groceries (liquor sales do not qualify for points)
- Turn in your receipts to the church. Look for the envelope on the bulletin board in the Parish Hall, and place your receipts inside it.
- We submit receipts back to Oleson's
- We are granted cash rewards for the food pantry ($1 spent on groceries = 1 cent in Community Share points)
For every $5000 in receipts we submit, we receive $50 in cash for our food pantry. Every little bit helps!
Thank you for participating!
Click here to learn more...
Buy from Amazon?
Help Grace Church!
Did you know Grace Church is part of the Amazon Smile program? We ask you to consider supporting Grace Church through this program. It doesn't take more than a minute to register, then eligible purchases will benefit Grace Church.
Follow this link to learn more...