November 22, 2022


DC's faith communities rally to protect bused-in immigrants (Emily Neil, 11/22/22, RNS)

The day in April that the first busload of migrants arrived in Washington, D.C., happened to be Holy Thursday, the feast on the Christian calendar that remembers Jesus washing the feet of his disciples the evening before his death. 

The Gospel story is about service, of care, the Rev. Sharon Stanley-Rea explained. Stanley-Rea, a Disciples of Christ minister and then-director of the denomination's Refugee and Immigration Ministries, showed up at a news conference with a basin of water and a towel after that first bus arrived -- symbols, she said, of the spirit of welcome she felt the faith community in the nation's capital was being called to emulate. 

And not just Christians, she recalled. Holy Thursday fell during Ramadan, the holiest month for Muslims, and Passover, a major Jewish holiday, began a day later. "Thankfully, from the first moment that the initial bus arrived," Stanley-Rea said, "I think we need to hold on to the power of, of that timing, as we have continued to see that spirit power, that commitment to service." [...]

The Congregation Action Network, a coalition of more than 70 faith-based organizations formed in 2017 in response to the Trump administration's "Muslim ban," had begun providing social services and food during the COVID-19 pandemic. When migrants began arriving in Washington this spring, the coalition immediately began meeting the newcomers' most urgent material needs. 

"You have a lot of faith communities, and groups that were already serving people who are food insecure, or unhoused, kind of well positioned to then transition some of that support to these newly arrived migrants," said Elias Johnson, director of CAN.

Posted by at November 22, 2022 6:01 PM