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Help Families Impacted by ICE Raids

August 12 2019


A letter from Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr. with ways to help at the end:

It is with a heavy heart that I write you today. As some of you may know, Wednesday, August 7, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided several work sites here in Mississippi, and arrested approximately 680 people in the largest single-state immigration enforcement action in U.S. history.
 
I’m not concerned with your personal political stances and thoughts on implications related to U.S. immigration, but I am concerned about the well-being and stability of families. Specifically, I am concerned about the children who suffered a sudden and traumatic separation from their families on what was for many, the first day of school here in Mississippi.
 
As I write you, people serving in the various regions that were impacted by yesterday’s events are planning ways in which faith communities can serve the needs of these children. Additionally, others will meet today and this evening to organize endeavors to serve. Those efforts will be announced as details are finalized, so check your emails for information tomorrow, and in the coming days for continued updates.
 
People of God, thank you in advance for your prayers for the children affected by Wednesday’s raids. I urge you to remember the words of our Savior in Matthew 18:5, “and whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”
 
Additionally, I want to remind you that our Social Principles affirms what the Scriptures teach us,
 
“We believe the family to be the basic human community through which persons are nurtured and sustained in mutual love, responsibility, respect, and fidelity,” and ¶ 162 affirms that children are “acknowledged to be full human beings in their own right, but beings to whom adults and society in general have special obligations” and that “children have the rights to food, shelter, clothing, health care, and emotional well-being as do adults, and these rights we affirm as theirs regardless of actions or inactions of their parents or guardians. In particular, children must be protected from economic, physical, emotional, and sexual exploitation and abuse.”
 
For those who desire to put your faith in action, below are ways you can help right now:

  • First and foremost, everyone can go to the Lord in prayer.  It is written that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
  • Second, Financial contributions are welcome to supply the immediate needs of these children. Gracious givers can mail checks to:
    • Attn: James Mason
    • The Mississippi United Methodist Conference
    • 320 Briarwood Dr.
    • Jackson, MS 39206
  • Give online here at our fee-free paypal account.
  • The following items can be donated to the food pantries being coordinated by Trinity Mission (430 Hillsboro Street, Forest, MS 39074). You may drop off any of the items listed below at Trinity Mission between 8:00 am - 8:00 pm.
    • Rice
    • Dried Black and Pinto Beans
    • Sugar
    • Pine Sol
    • Laundry Detergent
    • Vegetable Oil
    • Salt
    • Napkins
    • Toilet Paper
  • Methodist Children’s Homes (MCH) is offering assistance to the Mississippi Conference and local churches affected by the immigration raids. Currently, the staff at MCH are in communications with the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services (MDCPS) to determine if and how they can assist with caring for any children who need placement. At this time, they are still assessing the needs and building their response plans. However, MCH is aware that many local churches within the conference are directly serving in those communities. MCH has staff trained in working with children who have been traumatized and can work with the families as a whole as well. To contact MCH, email or call Samantha Kalahar, the director of development at skalahar@mchms.org 601.853.5000 ext. 2201.