Plaza Encuentro Graduation and Celebration

Plaza Encuentro Graduation and Celebration

Join Bishop Michael, representatives from the Mexican consulate, and many proud graduates and their family and friends for this celebration of academic achievement!

Plaza Encuentro is a unique ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon providing educational instruction ranging from basic Spanish and English literacy to GED preparation, and also helps immigrants get ready for their citizenship tests.

Offering Sacred Welcome Curriculum

Offering Sacred Welcome is a curriculum designed to engage Episcopal congregations in prayerful reflection and thoughtful actions regarding immigrant and refugee justice.

This curriculum has been developed by the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice (IMIrJ) in partnership with the Diocesan Commission for Sanctuary. The groundwork for this initiative was laid with the “Welcoming the Stranger” resolution at the 2019 diocesan convention and the 2018 General Convention resolution “Becoming a Sanctuary Church.”

Commission member Hjalmer Lofstrom points out, “This curriculum supports the openings of small and large doors in the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon’s communities as a response to our Baptismal Covenant.”

The Commission on Sanctuary and IMIrJ are available to address questions and assist in adapting this curriculum for diverse communities. If you plan to use this curriculum for your congregation, please contact the Rev. Chris Craun at chris@stmaa.org for support and to provide feedback.

Walking in Welcome

Migration, Hope, and Hospitality

A letter from Archdeacon Roger Saterstrom of the Diocese of Tennessee.

“You know the heart of an alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.” Exodus 23:9

The United Nations calculates that at the start of 2020, a record 70.8 million people were in a state of imposed migration, forcibly displaced from their countries of origin. An astounding 37,000 persons per day flee their homes around the globe, due to armed conflict or persecution.
 
This massive stream of humanity flows daily around the globe in mixed movements of men, women, and children traveling together, sometimes as family groups, sometimes solo, and always for a variety of reasons.

Some people are seeking legal protection through asylum in another country, some are refugees fleeing intolerably harsh conditions, others are stateless persons, or victims of trafficking, and even unaccompanied or separated children.

Regardless of their individual circumstances, these human beings in migration—the people that the author of Exodus described as “aliens”—are propelled by fear, desperation, and hope. And it is in this fear, desperation, and hope that some of these displaced persons come to us, where we dwell in relative comfort and peace.
 
Migration is where the global meets the local. We are not immune from the poverty and violence that drives people to seek safety and a new beginning.  We are the antidote. Indeed, for some, we are the embodiment of their hope for the future.
 
In our country, our communities, and our Church, whether we are aware of it or not, we engage daily with people all around us whose stories are part of this global phenomenon: the largest forced migration since World War II.

In the U.S. national conversation, in our politics and policy, in our own families, we ask: How did we get here? How should we respond? How do those who migrate experience our country’s immigration system? What does hospitality look like in these extreme circumstances? To what are we being called – as individuals and as a people of faith and shared humanity?
 
The Episcopal Church has assisted migrants for more than a century, establishing Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) to help refugees resettle in American communities. In partnership with a network of affiliated agencies, dioceses, churches, and volunteers, EMM is now one of only nine national agencies through which all refugees enter the United States.
 
EMM also hosts Partners in Welcome, an online learning community and ministry network for Episcopalians, congregations, dioceses, and other neighbors to come together to learn, share best practices, and discern how God is calling them to join in the work of welcome.

Thanks to the efforts of a number of Partners in Welcome members, EMM recently released Supporting Asylum Seekers: A Toolkit for Congregations. The toolkit provides frameworks through which to understand and discern ministry, as well as the “nuts & bolts” practical steps to the work of hosting and supporting an asylum seeker as they go through the legal process.
 
All are welcome to join Partners in Welcome, request a free copy of the Supporting Asylum Seekers toolkit, and to connect with EMM in 2020 for conversation, learning, ministry discernment, and more. Allison Duvall, EMM’s Manager for Church Relations & Engagement, may be reached at aduvall@episcopalchurch.org or (212) 716-6027.

This letter was originally published January 14, 2020 as a blog post for Episcopal Migration Ministries.

Offering Sacred Welcome to Immigrants and Refugees Workshop

Join the Commission for Sanctuary and leaders from the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice (IMIrJ) as we learn to live out our commitment to Confront Hate, Racism, and Poverty in the Diocese of Oregon as declared in our 2017 Resolution II. Together we will explore our stories of sacred welcome, connect with one another in the work happening in Oregon, and discover our next brave step in offering sacred welcome to immigrants and refugees.

St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Eugene
November 23, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Offering Sacred Welcome to Immigrants and Refugees Workshop

Join the Commission for Sanctuary and leaders from the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice (IMIrJ) as we learn to live out our commitment to Confront Hate, Racism, and Poverty in the Diocese of Oregon as declared in our 2017 Resolution II. Together we will explore our stories of sacred welcome, connect with one another in the work happening in Oregon, and discover our next brave step in offering sacred welcome to immigrants and refugees.

St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church, Wilsonville
November 16, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

 

Welcoming the Stranger

At the 131st Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon, delegates voted to approve the following resolution.

Resolution of Policy: Welcoming the Stranger

RESOLVED that the 131st Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon urge all congregations and their members to support and participate in training and educational opportunities to offer sacred welcome to immigrants and refugees; and be it further

RESOLVED that, as part of this training, the Diocesan Commission for Sanctuary will offer workshops on offering sacred welcome to immigrants and refugees in the Portland metro area on November 16 at St. Francis, Wilsonville, and in the central portion of the Diocese on November 23 at St. Thomas, Eugene; and be it further

RESOLVED that, as a follow-up to the Workshops, the Diocesan Commission for Sanctuary will offer a plan for a series to be offered in diocesan congregations exploring aspects of the reality of offering sacred welcome to immigrants and refugees; and be it further

RESOLVED that all congregations of the Diocese be urged to offer the series either this coming Advent (2019), during the Sundays after Epiphany (2020), or in Lent (2020) in a format appropriate for their congregation.

Explanation:

This resolution is inspired by the resolution titled, “Confronting Hate, Racism, and Poverty in the Diocese of Oregon,” approved by the 129th Convention of the Diocese of Oregon in 2017. Among its several resolves, this resolution called for the creation of a Commission for Sanctuary to provide guidance on implementing the Biblical imperative to welcome the stranger.

The Biblical imperative is, of course, evident throughout the Scriptures, but is perhaps most clearly stated in the parable of the Good Samaritan: Jesus’ answer to the lawyer’s question, “Who is my neighbor?” At the end of that parable, Jesus tells the lawyer to “go and do likewise.”

But also providing foundational support for both this proposed resolution and the one approved in 2017, are our Baptismal Vows, where we promise that, with God’s help, we will

  • Continue in the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship and in the breaking of the bread and in the prayers
  • Persevere in resisting evil and whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord
  • Proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ
  • Seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself
  • Strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being

And while the last two of these promises may seem to pertain most clearly to this resolution, in fact, all are embodied in our efforts to follow Jesus’ lead as we identify our neighbors and embrace the strangers among us.

This resolution is also a response to the Resolution (C009), of the Episcopal Church, meeting in its General Convention in July 2018, which recommended “that its institutions and congregations become places of welcome, refuge, healing, and other forms of material and pastoral support for those targeted for deportation due to immigration status or some perceived status of difference.” It further encouraged “its members to connect with local and national sanctuary communities and institutions, faith-based coalitions, and immigrant rights groups and coalitions, and engage in educating, organizing, advocacy, and direct action” with the focus of ensuring “the safety, security, and due process for immigrants.”

In keeping with the resolution of The Episcopal Church (C009), this resolution offers ways for all of us in the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon to learn more about the plight and needs of immigrants and refugees, within and beyond our worshipping communities, and how best to accompany them as they confront countless daunting obstacles to their health, safety, and general well-being.

There will be no financial impact on the 2020 Operating Budget of the Diocese of Oregon. The workshops will be funded by an endowment grant from a congregation within the Diocese.

Dias de Bienvenida

Join us for Dias de Bienvenida! On Saturday, come meet Spanish-speaking Episcopalians from around the Portland metro area as they enjoy the radical hospitality & deep beauty of our Cathedral and its music program. The informal program runs from 10:00-2:00, and lunch will be served picnic-style in the courtyard.

We will also be joined by special guest The Rev. Nancy Frausto—the first Episcopal priest with DACA status—who will share her story and then preach on Sunday.

NORCOR Interfaith Service and Vigil

The Immigrant Welcoming Congregation Team from St. Michael’s, along with faith based groups from throughout the state, are going to be descending on The Dalles this Saturday, April 28 for an Interfaith Church Service (at St. Paul’s Episcopal in the Dalles) and action at NORCOR, the county jail.

We will meet at 10:30am at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (1805 Minnesota St, The Dalles, OR 97058) for an Interfaith Service.  We will proceed together for a noon-1 Vigil outside of the NORCOR facility (201 Webber St, The Dalles, OR 97058), then return to the church for food and fellowship until 3pm. Carpools will be forming in Portland, departing at 8:30am. Check the following link for locations:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qoHa96kkAYrVWQ1Dz8Re51Oyqs676NYZIH37sjVwXKQ/edit

Below you will find the latest update of information about the NORCOR Vigil this Saturday, April 28th.  The link to the campaign briefing contains information about federal funding for ICE beds from minutes 16 – 21.  In addition, the Gorge ICE Resistance group has posted this video to YouTube, which explains what they have been doing in The Dalles over the past year.  https://youtu.be/drydP16uG-E

NORCOR has been renting beds out to ICE for immigrant detention, and groups have been keeping vigil and protesting for over a year. Immigrant detainees are only allowed visits from clergy and attorneys, not from their families. There are other problems and complaints and several lawsuits have been filed.

Hope to see you on Saturday,

The IWC Team

 

We stand with the dreamers and will do all that we can to support them

Please consider taking the time to read this statement by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and the President of the House of Deputies concerning their support for DACA. As the statement proclaims:  “As people of faith, our obligation is first to the most vulnerable, especially to children.” It is my belief that the children in question deserve our best efforts to protect them from harm.

+Michael

Presiding Bishop, President of House of Deputies on DACA:
We stand with the Dreamers
and will do all that we can to support them

Statement presented in English and Spanish
[September 5, 2017] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings have issued the following statement concerning the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

September 5, 2017

Today our hearts are with those known as the Dreamers—those young women and men who were brought to this country as children, who were raised here and whose primary cultural and country identity is American. We believe that these young people are children of God and deserve a chance to live full lives, free from fear of deportation to countries that they may have never known and whose languages they may not speak. As people of faith, our obligation is first to the most vulnerable, especially to children. In this moment, we are called by God to protect Dreamers from being punished for something they had no agency in doing.

Since 2012, individuals who are undocumented and who were brought to the U.S. as children have benefitted from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Through this program, those eligible have the opportunity to obtain a work permit and can secure protection from deportation. The nearly 800,000 recipients of DACA have proven that when given the opportunity, they succeed and contribute positively to our country. Without protection afforded by DACA or a legislative solution, these young people will live in fear of arrest, detention, and deportation to countries they may not remember. In six months those fears may become reality, so we must use that time wisely to advocate for their protection.

The Episcopal Church supports these undocumented youth as part of our decades-long commitment to walking with immigrants and refugees. Out of that commitment, we call on our nation to live up to its highest ideals and most deeply held values, and we call on Congress to take action to protect these young people and to formulate a comprehensive immigration policy that is moral and consistent and that allows immigrants who want to contribute to this country the chance to do so while keeping our borders secure from those whose business is in drugs, human trafficking or terror. We are committed to working actively toward both the passage of a bipartisan Dream Act by Congress and comprehensive immigration reform, and we will provide resources for Episcopalians who want to participate in this work.

For those of us who follow Jesus Christ, our Christian values are at stake. Humane and loving care for the stranger, the alien, and the foreigner is considered a sacred duty and moral value for those who would follow the way of God. In his parable of the last judgment, Jesus commended those who welcomed the stranger and condemned those who did not (Matthew 25:35 & 25:43). This teaching of Jesus was based on the law of Moses that tells the people of God: “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:33-35).

We stand with the Dreamers and will do all that we can to support them while we also work for the kind of immigration reform that truly reflects the best of our spiritual and moral values as people of faith and as citizens of the United States.

 

(Español)

Hoy nuestros corazones están con aquellos a los que se conocen como “los soñadores”—esos jóvenes, mujeres y hombres, que fueron traídos a este país de niños, que se criaron aquí y cuya primera identidad cultural y nacional es estadounidense. Creemos que estos jóvenes son hijos de Dios y que merecen una oportunidad de vivir vidas plenas, libres del temor a la deportación a países que pueden nunca haber conocido y cuyos idiomas puede que no hablen. Como personas de fe, nuestra obligación es en primer lugar con los más vulnerables, especialmente los niños. En este momento, somos llamados por Dios a proteger a los Soñadores de ser castigados por algo en lo que no tuvieron ninguna participación voluntaria.

Desde 2012, los individuos que son indocumentados y que fueron traídos de niños a EE.UU. se han beneficiado del programa de la Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia (DACA por su sigla en inglés). A través de este programa, los que cumplen los requisitos tienen la oportunidad de obtener un permiso de trabajo y estar amparados de la deportación. Los casi 800.000 beneficiarios de DACA han demostrado que, cuando se les da la oportunidad, salen adelante y contribuyen positivamente a nuestro país. Sin la protección que ha brindado el DACA o una solución legislativa, estos jóvenes vivirán con miedo al arresto, la detención y la deportación a países que ellos puede que no recuerden. En seis meses  esos temores pueden convertirse en realidad, en consecuencia debemos utilizar ese tiempo inteligentemente para abogar por su protección.

La Iglesia Episcopal apoya a estos jóvenes indocumentados como parte de nuestro compromiso de décadas de acompañar a los inmigrantes y refugiados. A partir de ese compromiso, llamamos a nuestra nación a vivir a la altura de sus más elevados ideales y de sus más caros valores, y llamamos al Congreso a tomar medidas para proteger a estos jóvenes y para formular una política de inmigración global que sea moral y coherente y que les dé la oportunidad a los inmigrantes que quieren contribuir con este país de hacerlo así, al tiempo que mantenemos nuestras fronteras seguras ante los que se dedican al tráfico de drogas, a la trata de seres humanos o al terror. Estamos comprometidos a trabajar activamente, tanto por la aprobación en el Congreso de una Ley del Sueño [Dream Act] con apoyo bipartidario, como de una reforma migratoria global, y proporcionaremos materiales a los episcopales que quieran participar en este empeño.

Para aquellos de nosotros que seguimos a Jesucristo, nuestros valores cristianos están en juego. El cuidado humano y amoroso por el desconocido, el extranjero y el forastero se considera un deber sagrado y un valor moral para los que hemos decidido seguir el camino de Dios. En su parábola del juicio final, Jesús encomió a los que acogieron al extraño y condenó a los que no lo hicieron (Mt. 25:35 & 25:43). Esta enseñanza de Jesús se basaba en la ley de Moisés que le dice al pueblo de Dios: “Cuando el extranjero morare con vosotros en vuestra tierra, no le oprimiréis. Como a un natural de vosotros tendréis al extranjero que more entre vosotros, y lo amarás como a ti mismo; porque extranjeros fuisteis en la tierra de Egipto. Yo el Señor vuestro Dios”.  (Levítico 19:33-35).

Estamos con los Soñadores y haremos todo que podamos para apoyarlos, al tiempo que trabajamos en pro de una reforma migratoria que verdaderamente refleje lo mejor de nuestros valores espirituales y morales como pueblo de fe y como ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos.

 

 

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry             The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings
Presiding Bishop and Primate                President, House of Deputies