The issue of unaccompanied children at the border has caused great concern about the thousands of refugee children who have fled violence and poverty to seek a safe haven here in the U.S. The presence of these same children has also prompted feelings of resentment, hatred and xenophobia, as communities are divided over who their neighbors are. I believe that as people of faith, we are called to respond to these children with love and support. We must move away from a national conversation of hostility to one of compassion and justice that reflects our faith values.
On July 11, Bishop Minerva Carcaño of the California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles issued a call to their churches to observe an Interfaith Weekend of Compassion and Prayer for Unaccompanied Migrant Children from sunset on Friday, July 18, to sunset on Sunday, July 20. This past Sunday people of faith throughout the nation held prayer services in support of the many unaccompanied migrant children currently in detention centers. A resource packet has been made available to individuals and communities with information to assist with planning worship services. It is my hope that people of faith will continue to pray for these children individually and corporately.
Likewise, Bishop Carcaño and Bishop Bruno are calling on people of faith to join in a letter-writing campaign to help send a message to the children at the border to assure them that they have not been forgotten. Letter writing can be a great activity for Vacation Bible School, youth groups, Sunday School classes and small groups.The website theyarechildren.com has information about how to submit a letter, drawing or photo to a child. It is crucial that these children who are alone and scared know that they have people lifting them up in prayer. While praying and writing letters may seem like small acts of faith, they have huge impacts on these young refugees.
For more information about how your congregation can support unaccompanied minors, email email@example.com.