As I read the stories of the children arriving at our border, I am reminded of a story of another refugee family crossing a border to save their child.
Matthew 2 tells us that after the three Magi departed after paying homage to the infant Jesus, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt and be you there until I tell you. For Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.” And Joseph arose and woke Mary and they fled Bethlehem that very night. And Herod did indeed slay all the male children of Bethlehem under the age of two, a massacre not unlike those committed by drug cartels in some Central American countries.
It is our turn to give refuge to children fleeing violence. There is information on the diocesan website about opportunities for hands-on help with the refugee children here locally through Catholic Charities Fort Worth.
Therefore I am calling upon the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth to spend the remainder of the month of July in raising funds to help fellow Episcopalians care for the refugee children on our border.
But this will be a long-term effort, and the need for funds is growing, especially at the border. Therefore I am calling upon the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth to spend the remainder of the month of July in raising funds to help fellow Episcopalians care for the refugee children on our border.
“I have just returned from the Valley where I have spoken with clergy and our Commission on Emergency Response leaders about our response to the humanitarian needs of the children and families coming across the border. Particularly hard hit are the communities of McAllen and Laredo; although the needs are not only limited to those locations,” Bishop Lillibridge writes.
“St. John’s, McAllen, and Christ Church, Laredo, are doing much to reach these individuals with basic human needs. Both congregations are participating in church-wide and city-wide cooperative efforts. Both of these congregations tell us that they are able to assemble packets and/or backpacks to help these children and families while the authorities are processing them. Both congregations have volunteers working in a variety of ways to meet the needs.”
Bishop Lillibridge reports that funding is urgently needed to purchase things such as hygiene kits, water bottles, toothpaste, soap, diapers, snacks, underwear, t-shirts, and other such basic needs.
The Diocese of West Texas has established a fund to receive all monetary contributions. Money will be disbursed as needed by the diocese’s coordinating people on the sites.
Checks should be made out to the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, noted for Emergency Relief. Mail checks to:
Episcopal Diocese of West Texas
P.O. Box 6885
San Antonio, TX 78209
Volunteers also are needed to stuff emergency packs and to help professionals shepherd the refugees through the hospitality process.
For more information on volunteering or to get more information about the border situation and how to help, call St. John’s, McAllen (956-687-6191) and Christ Church, Laredo (956-723-5714).
I urge individuals and congregations also to pray for the children, their families, and all those who are working with them, including the Border Patrol officers.
Please be generous with your prayers, your time, and your donations. Let us not forget how other folks throughout the church responded to our needs over the past five years. We are the family of God and when one of our members needs help, we always respond, for we too have experienced need in various forms.
Bless you all in your life and ministry in our diocese.