Message from the Senior Pastor
I hope these days between Christmas and New Year’s bring you time to rest and play. For me, the flurry of activities began mid-October when we opened our migrant shelter, through our mission trip to Puerto Rico, and Christmas week. I am glad to have a few days between things to catch up with myself and loved ones. Today, my cousin on my dad’s side, Bill Lovelace, is supposed to call from Norway where he and his wife are ministers. We lost track of each other for fifty-six years, but share much in common as clergy and missionaries. It was my Aunt Graham, his mom, whose faith awakened mine and propelled me, finally, into ministry.
This has been an auspicious year for me and for Rincon. I completed twenty years as ordained clergy in the UCC and received my Doctor of Ministry from Drew Theological School. I reconnected with my cousin Bill, and also a niece, child of one of my siblings who found me on Ancestry.com. Rincon also had a banner year with a $21,000 surplus from 2017. We provided many meals for Primavera and Casa Maria, made many home visits to our Rincon members and friends, and opened a short-term migrant shelter that was a temporary home to 514 adults and children. As a result of her experience with our shelter, one Rincon member is sponsoring a family that came through one of Tucson’s local shelters. And, as I write, ICE has an order to drop seventy adults and children at the bus station. Rincon’s ad hoc migrant shelter has approved the opening our shelter to accommodate twenty guests, just as other churches are stepping up to fill this emergency need.
These times call for us to be nimble, deeply grounded in our faith story of the Holy Family who were forced to flee Herod and migrate to Egypt shortly after Jesus’ birth, and willing to go beyond ourselves to be the body and breath, and hands and feet of Jesus in the world today. In a world of hate, it is ever more important to live our values of justice, love, and joy. If you are able to come and help us gear up for a week of sheltering, or to support in other ways from your home, please let us know. A sign up for volunteers will soon be available.
Please know that this emergency shelter is not meant to get a jump on proposals for a future shelter. The motion passed by congregational vote in December was meant to be able to respond quickly to a humanitarian crisis if need be. We did not expect for the need to come this soon, but the papers are saying that our immigration system is strained beyond capacity to provide the services they are by law supposed to provide. After yet another child died in Border Patrol Custody after seven days in detention, our willingness to step up and receive these children with their parents is life and soul saving. What better time than Christmas to receive the holy families into our midst?
Peace be on your way,
Read the Thursday E-letter for January 10, 2019 here.