In response to current events at the border, regarding the separation of children from their families, the Missions Team is sharing the information below with friends and members of Jackson Community Church. This reflects the response of the national United Church of Christ and offers a path for individuals who feel moved by this issue. For anyone who wishes, envelopes will be available at church to make contributions to UCC Ministries, specifying the Keep Families Together fund.
To be clear, the UCC at a national level makes specific political statements and takes up lobbying positions separate from the views/beliefs/stances of its constituent (individual church) members. These may vary greatly from where individual congregations sit on any issue, since congregations may not have uniform views on issues, or simply don’t agree with national consensus or statements made by working ministry groups about different issues. So the national UCC doesn’t have any centralized authority to dictate our own church’s response, although they can provide a spiritual and ethical framework, plus financial and mission-based avenues of response, etc. By sharing the national UCC response, we allow individual people to ‘vote their conscience’ on this issue.
Condemning the unconscionable assertion that migrant children should be separated from their parents because of ‘orderly and lawful processes that protect the weak and lawful,’ — a Biblical statement used to justify U.S. immigration policies — United Church of Christ National Leadership has issued this pastoral letter, urging the people of the denomination’s almost 5,000 congregations to take action now! First, by contacting their Congressional representatives, and then by providing funds to keep families together. Money to be used to support the people sleeping in the streets at the borders of this country, or those parents and children separated upon entry!
“Still, when God saw the trouble they were in and heard their cries for help, God remembered God’s Covenant with them, and, immense with love, took them by the hand. God poured out God’s mercy on them while their captors looked on, amazed.”
— Psalm 106:44-47
Friends, once again we stand at the brink of a moral precipice in our society and the question before us is will we choose to act in covenant with God on behalf of God’s people or will we sacrifice our soul. The United Church of Christ has long been a supporter of migrant families seeking refuge within our borders from intolerable and unsafe living conditions in their homelands. As people of God committed to the sacredness of all creation and the sanctity of every life, we are compelled to heed the cries of families now being violently torn apart at our borders for political expediency and profitability. Such violent acts are unnecessarily punitive and place at risk the physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and developmental stability of hundreds of families who now find themselves separated, caged, and commodified in a strange land.
All of our sacred texts, no matter the faith, identify the disregard of the humanity of the vulnerable as sin.
And God hears the cries of God’s people. The plight of black and brown migrant families whose children are ripped from their care cannot be the policy of a civilized land. We’ve been here before. Our nation’s history bears witness to a legacy of lost love. We separated the children of Native people from their families. We separated the children of enslaved people from their families. We separated the children of Japanese people from their families. Many of these families were never made whole again. This legacy of white supremacist ideology is idolatrous and leaves an indelible mark of evil that can only be redeemed by a conscious act of spiritual repentance and repair.
We must resist the evil of dehumanization enacted upon the vulnerable among us. The United Church of Christ strongly condemns the dismantling of families, the criminalization of the quest for freedom, and the caging of those whose only crime is to seek shelter from harm. How we treat those who seek shelter in our midst is a direct reflection of how we treat God. We call upon our 5,000 member churches to write letters to your representatives in Congress as an act of worship this month. Refugee Justice Sunday is June 17, World Refugee Day is June 20. Remind Congress there is a law that supersedes partisanship and political bantering, and that is the sanctity of all people of God.
The National Officers of the United Church of Christ
- The Rev. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President
- The Rev. Traci Blackmon, Executive Minister, Justice and Witness Ministries
- The Rev. James Moos, Executive Minister, Wider Church Ministries
The Council of Conference Ministers of the United Church of Christ
Ways to Respond
(from the UCC’s National Officer and Council of Conference Officers)
- Call on Congress to Keep Families Together!
- Donate, designating your gift to UCC Ministries to the Keep Families Together fund.
- Learn more about UCC work at the border.
The New Hampshire Conference of the UCC also has a working Immigrant & Refugee Support Team. If you are interested in information and becoming involved in these issues in our own state, the NH Conference team can help connect you. Email Nancy Pape and ask to be added to their emails.
Her most recent update on the work of this Committee, in conjunction with other faith groups, was:
“Happy to report that one female asylum seeker in our program has been able to start working in a NH daycare where she is receiving rave reviews and another female asylum seeker will be graduating from nurse’s aid school on Monday.
A third man who was granted a green card upon release from detention last month has decided to pack up his things in the state whence he came in order to join us here in NH. Before heading out to collect his belongings he was baptized at his request in a NH church and also rode in a local Memorial Day parade as a guest of honor.”