Over the last month, there have been multiple rumors of ICE raids in Lynn. Some have proven true and others false but all create a culture of fear. Friday, as I attended a PICO Board meeting, Faith in New Jersey turned out a US Senator and dozens of clergy including the Roman Catholic Archbishop, to accompany Catalino Guerrero to his deportation hearing. Sunday, I received an email from MCAN asking for support for Mamadou a 17-year-old Guyanian whose parents have been killed and who is seeking asylum for himself; he has already spent a year in detention and needed someone who would provide a safe and secure living space for him. And, Monday evening at an ECCO Lynn Sanctuary meeting, two members of our community joined us because family members had been picked up by ICE.
As I hear these stories, I feel the pain of individuals and families. They draw me back to our sacred texts. I go to the psalms and the prophets who remind us that God’s people were once exiled to a distant land and have a responsibility to care for the stranger in our midst… To Jesus who gave us a new commandment to “love one another as I have loved you….” And to the early Christian community in the Book of Acts who held everything in common providing for each according to his or her need.
PICO’s core principle arising out of these texts is “No one stands alone.” No one stands alone when facing deportation proceedings. No one stands alone when someone you love dies. No one stands alone when your child is arrested or addicted. No one stands alone when life feels unsettled and uncertain. The church exists so that no one stands alone. May we in prayer and action stand with our family, friends, and neighbors.
–The Rev. Jane Soyster Gould, Rector