Sanctuary Ministry: Giving thanks for our Multicultural Bilingual Deacons

Sanctuary Ministry: Giving thanks for our Multicultural Bilingual Deacons

Deacons are the bridge between the Church and the Community. Archdeacon Sue von Rautenkranz will speak about this newly ordained cohort. We will also hear from recently ordained and seasoned deacons as well as from Fr Vidal, Senior priest of a sponsoring and receiving parish. Join us as we learn how we can walk alongside the Deacons of our Diocese to welcome the stranger and build the beloved community.

La diócesis recibe el premio de CARECEN por su Ministerio de la Esperanza

La diócesis recibe el premio de CARECEN por su Ministerio de la Esperanza

Bishop Mariann holding the Saul Solorzano Justice Award from CARECEN
Missioner Mildred Briones Reyes, CARECEN Exec. Director Abel Nuñez, Bishop Mariann
The delegation from EDOW at the awards banquet with Bishop Mariann on stage
“…Fui extranjero y me recibieron”.
Mateo 25:35

Cuando los autobuses llenos de migrantes cansados y hambrientos comenzaron a llegar al área metropolitana de Washington este verano, nuestras congregaciones, con la compasión que las caracteriza, respondieron rápidamente. Nuestra gente instaló centros de acogida en los salones parroquiales y en las naves, puso en contacto a personas y familias con los servicios sociales, proporcionó atención médica, localizó refugios y distribuyó ropa, zapatos y artículos de aseo a las personas, muchas de las cuales llegaron con muy pocos o ningún recurso. Juntos, como diócesis, alimentamos sus cuerpos y cuidamos sus almas.

El 27 de octubre, la Obispa Mariann y una delegación de líderes laicos y clero asistieron a la 41ª celebración anual de CARECEN para aceptar el Premio a la Justicia Saúl Solórzano, en nombre de la Diócesis Episcopal de Washington, otorgado en reconocimiento a esta importante labor.

Desde 1981, la misión de CARECEN ha sido fomentar el desarrollo integral de la población latina en el área de DC. El premio reconoce los logros de una organización sobresaliente que ha demostrado un trabajo distinguido y esfuerzos incansables para promover los derechos y la dignidad de los inmigrantes.

Nos sentimos profundamente honrados por este reconocimiento. Hacemos este trabajo y seguiremos haciéndolo – porque, como cristianos, Dios nos llama a acoger al extranjero. De hecho, Dios nos pide que amemos a nuestro prójimo como a nosotros mismos.

Si desea participar en este Ministerio de la Esperanza, por favor, póngase en contacto con la Rvda. Carol Coonrod y Elizabeth Terry en Santo Tomás, Dupont Circle o con el Rvdo. Vidal Rivas y Fátima Vásquez en San Mateo, Hyattsville.

The delegation from EDOW
A poster of CARECEN's 41st anniversary awards banquet
Bishop Mariann accepts the award on behalf of the diocese
We Said We Needed Shoes…and We Got Shoes

We Said We Needed Shoes…and We Got Shoes

As migrants arrived on buses from Texas and Arizona, many came wearing tattered or worn-out shoes. The folks welcoming them let the EDOW Refugee Response Team know of the need–and when word went out, shoes piled in from across the Diocese with parishes from far and wide responding with overwhelming abundance. From St. Andrew’s in southern Maryland, to St. Thomas, St. John’s Broad Creek, and St. Barnabas in Prince George’s County, to St. John’s Olney, Norwood, Good Shepherd, Grace Episcopal, and Redeemer in Montgomery County, and other parishes in the District who graciously dropped off shoes, the call was answered!

As we enter colder weather season, we need more locations for dropping off and sorting shoes, clothes, and other supplies. Parishes in the District are stepping up and we expect to be hosting more sites where we can clothe and support those arriving in our area. The immediate need is for gently used or new shoes for children and men (size 9 or smaller), coats for all, and backpacks.

For information on where to drop them–or if your parish would like to become a drop off location–please contact the Refugee Response Team.

Each week a list is shared from the RRT about what is needed in our area. The RRT also shares information on what is happening and how to support all migrants across our region.

Thank you to everyone who has given so generously. The need remains and we’re grateful for continuing support.

Recognizing the Holy Spirit at Noonday Prayer

Recognizing the Holy Spirit at Noonday Prayer

In April, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas announced that his administration would charter buses to “bring migrants released by federal agents north to Washington….[to] be dropped at the doorstep of federal lawmakers.” In response, several faith communities in DC have stepped up to serve as spaces of respite following the long bus rides, working alongside not-for-profits that provide medical care, food, housing, transportation, and bus and plane tickets to the migrants next location. Over the month of June, the Church of the Epiphany, with the help of some of our sister Episcopal congregations, has been host to over 250 migrants.

Our guests arrive via private transport from Union Station to the church in need of immediate access to a bathroom and WiFi. The first arrivals each day tend to appear between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m. They are infants, children, elderly, men, women–all weary and calmly preparing for the next leg of their journey. Some speak Spanish, but other languages we hear are Portuguese, French, even English. We don’t always know how many guests we will host each time, so flexibility has been a necessity.

In the beginning, we provided what was asked for: toys for the kids, bathrooms, food to eat, directions to the store. It was an easy way to be of service, a form of outreach our parish has undertaken in response to calls for help any number of times over the years.

It has long been the custom of Epiphany to host weekday services. One day recently, I was preparing to pray with some regular visitors who entered the church with the expectation of a noonday service, but the sanctuary was filled with our migrant neighbors. It seemed natural to invite all present to pray together, but knowing that many of our guests were tired, and in the process of transitioning to the next stop, I did not think many would respond to the invitation.

I left the sanctuary to grab the readings for the day and my Spanish language Book of Common Prayer. Upon returning to the sanctuary, I was surprised to find that 50 migrants had gathered, silenced the children, and were anxiously awaiting the opportunity to pray.

Seeing how many were gathered I hesitated, wondering if my limited Spanish language knowledge would be adequate to meet the need, yet a sense of purpose and certainty settled upon me. With the help of a Spanish-speaking volunteer from Washington National Cathedral we prayed together, offered a homily, and praised God.

As a space of respite throughout the week, Epiphany provides an opportunity to walk the labyrinth, participate in worship, and hear music. Yet, it hadn’t occurred to us that one thing that would be welcomed by the travelers is corporate worship.

Despite the language barrier, and the fatigue from traveling on a bus for 25-33 hours, we had a spirited and beautiful worship experience. People were so thankful to be able to pray the Lord’s Prayer together. All the voices together, Spanish, English, rang throughout the sanctuary. Everyone walked away filled with the spirit, you could see all moving with a bit more joy in their step.

We did nothing fancy or extraordinary AND the Holy Spirit made her presence known to us. That day, we started as strangers and departed as siblings under God.

The Rev. Glenna Huber
Rector, Church of the Epiphany, DC