“Shining Light and Walking in Love”: Immigration Perspectives from the Rio Grande Valley

2017-05-20 02.50.41The Rev. Rod Clark, Vicar at St. Peter and St. Paul, Mission speaks to Council about responding to the needs in Border Communities and Congregations. He says,

This issue is not easy. People have strong opinions about it, and it can be divisive, but be confident that wherever you fall on this issue, whatever your opinion might be or your political affiliation, there is an opportunity for you to walk in love in this diocese.

If you want to meet humanitarian needs and be among migrants, you’re about to hear about an opportunity to do that from Andrea Rudnik. If you want to go on mission teams and work in other countries, you can do that. If you want to support law enforcement, you can do that.

If you find other shadows that need a light shined upon them, let your lights shine, and walk in love.”

Speaking next, Andrea Rudnik a seminarian in the IONA program, shares stories about Compassionate Relief for Asylum Seekers, an ecumenical ministry in Brownsville with two components, a ministry that crosses the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge to provide assistance to asylum seekers there and a ministry that receives asylum seekers at the bus station to help equip and prepare them for the next stage of their journey. She says that,

“We respond to the needs of asylum seekers, as we find them, depending on their needs. Sometimes they ask for clothing. Some are babies, some toddlers, so we bring diapers and formula. We bring food, that’s the primary thing we do.

One of the things that is really important for us as volunteers, is to not just bring dinner and supplies, but to let them know that we’re there and that we care about them. We do a lot of prayer with them. We have several in our group that play musical instruments, and we sing and talk with them. We find out what’s going on in their lives. How are they feeling? We attend to their needs as best we can, a ministry of presence.

Our work is a ministry of presence as much as anything else, and I feel like it’s really important to say that, and it’s been said over and over in these last two days, that all of us are the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth, and that our baptismal covenant asks us to seek and serve Christ in all persons.”