Learning from Laughter and the Trees: Dear Trump #2. The perfect gift.

27545226_1517543381692953_9067731188216851540_nBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

There has been a small, weekly vigil happening across from Isaac’s school for a year now. It started when a young girl told a social worker at school she was afraid of her friends and family being deported. When the social worker asked her if there was anyway that we could support her family, the little girl said she would feel better if ICE could see that people cared. So, this small vigil is one attempt at that- to publicly say to ICE that we stand with our neighbors and that we are paying attention. There is a commitment to keep standing in solidarity until there is a justice immigration policy in place and children can live without fear. Continue reading

Lunch with the Law

joyceBy Joyce Hollyday

Three-year-old Enrique’s favorite toy—a plastic helmet with a dark face shield, emblazoned with the word “POLICE”—was parked on his head. As he toddled up to our burly, 6-foot-8 county sheriff, with his mother Rosita watching nervously, the irony just about did me in.

For three hours every week a group calling ourselves Mujeres Unidas en Fe (Women United in Faith) gathers at a church just over the mountain from my home in Western North Carolina. A dozen Spanish-speaking women and an equal number of us English speakers share Bible study, exchange language lessons, and enjoy a potluck lunch. Fear has been running high since executive orders out of the White House targeted North Carolina as a state for increased action against undocumented immigrants, and recently our group’s activities have included the heartbreaking work of getting legal papers in place for the care of their children if any of the mothers are deported.   Continue reading

Harboring Hope

immigrant-rights-now1By Joyce Hollyday

Amid our usual array of alternative-Christian-chic denim and earth-tone fleece, 4-year-old Angelita sparkles like a gem. Her hair is braided with colorful ribbons, and she’s wearing what I presume is her Christmas outfit: a bright sweater patterned with bold red flowers, a black velvet skirt, and shiny patent leather shoes.

A couple that is part of Circle of Mercy, my faith community, has agreed to care for Angelita and her older brothers if her parents are forcibly sent back to Guatemala. As we hear the details of the legal arrangement, Angelita sits in her father’s lap, snuggling against his chest. It’s a bittersweet gift, I think, as Angelita’s mother tearfully expresses her gratitude. Continue reading

A Web of Interconnected Lives

farm workersFrom Daniel Rothenberg in With These Hands: The Hidden World of Migrant Farmworkers Today:

When we reach into a bin to choose an apple, orange or plum, our hands stretch out in much the same way as a farmworker’s hands—harvesting our nation’s fruits and vegetables, piece by piece. While the produce may have been mechanically sorted and packed, supercooled, chemically treated, waxed, and shipped hundreds, if not thousands, of miles, often the last hand to touch the fruits and vegetables we buy was that of a migrant farmworker. Through the simple act of purchasing an orange or a head of lettuce, we are connected with a hidden world of laborers, a web of interconnected lives, with hands on both ends.

New World Border

Artist Nancy Hom was born in China and immigrated to the U.S. when she was five.

New World Border

The wall, now being constructed across the length of the US/Mexico border is like a knife cutting off neighbors, wildlife, indigenous people, and families. The wall is inflaming hatred and contributing to an atmosphere of vigilantism and oppression. While the US walls itself off from the world in the name of “security” what is it sacrificing? What is the price of this imprisonment? What is at the root of this fear based policy of building walls? (courtesy of CreativeResistance.Org)

Who Are Our People?

But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’
Luke 10:29

From Justin Ashworth, a candidate in the Duke Divinity School ThD program. Justin is in the process of finishing a dissertation devoted to a theological engagement with U.S. immigration policy, drawing on the Merciful Samaritan parable in Luke 10 (right: painting by Paula Modersohn-Becker, 1907), which challenges followers of Jesus to ask the vital question in immigration debates: “Who are our people?” This is the conclusion from a presentation he gave to a class last week:

…the calling of gentiles to follow Jesus draws us into a life together with people we did not choose. It requires that we deny any notion of a permanently stable identity: we follow the God of the living who is on the move in the world. There may be times for staying put, but the Christian life is fundamentally one of movement towards Jesus and therefore towards the people he is gathering around himself. This recognition requires that we cultivate a posture of openness toward the Spirit of Jesus Christ who blows where the Spirit wills. Continue reading