Message from the Senior Pastor
Rincon’s Church Council voted yesterday, Sunday, October 28th, to “hit the pause button” on our temporary and emergency migrant shelter in order to give some space for leaders to rest and be with family over Thanksgiving, and to consider next steps for the migrant shelter. We will send off our last guests by Friday, November 9th and close the day with a pot-luck celebration for all volunteers. It is unclear at this point how or whether the church will proceed with the shelter, but rest assured that funds collected for the shelter will be held until we come to a decision as Council and finally congregation to evaluate, asses immediate and long-term-need, and discern how best to meet those needs. I am already receiving calls and texts with questions and concerns. I also am getting feedback that this has been hard on our congregation members, who still do the bulk of coordination and show up for the hardest to staff tasks.
I trust the United Church of Christ process for collaboration, consultation, and for the congregation and its representatives to determine intermediate and long-term strategies for meeting an ever growing need for “offering emergency shelter to vulnerable and at-risk members of our Tucson and Southern Arizona.” Please stay tuned in as we find our way to the next right steps for our church. On Sunday, November 4th at 8:50 and 12:00 noon we will hold a Question and Answer session, much as we did two weeks ago, for Rincon members and other volunteers to have information to take back to their constituencies that have supported this effort.
Meanwhile, the important work of the shelter continues unabated. On Friday night, an international puppeteer group, “Tongues Out”, performed a puppet show in Spanish for our guests. On Saturday, one of our volunteers who teaches tennis in Tucson public schools brought in a tennis net, racket, and balls and adults and children had a blast playing at playing tennis! Another volunteer brought art supplies and sat with children as they colored and drew. Another overnight volunteer had an impromptu dance part of the patio. So many others are volunteering at the shelter and behind the scenes to help our guests transition to be with their sponsors in just 2-3 days’ time.
The shelter is but one of many ways Rincon serves the needs of our church “body” – which is you, our members and friends - as we also serve the “poorest, weakest, and must abused” among us. I have been blown away by our congregational support for the shelter, and also aware and deeply grateful that each of you is also involved in your own work for justice, compassion and peace. Whether it be the calling to raise healthy and faithful children, teach, take meals to people who are homebound, tutor, teach English classes, read to school children, provide hearing aids, foster and grandparent children, provide spiritual direction, provide medical care, advocate for social justice, and many, many more ways that you serve, you continue to show up in ways that I have not experienced in other churches. Please know that I am so honored to be your pastor and humbled by your passion for justice and peace, joy and grace, every single day.
In deepest appreciation,
Read the Thursday E-letter for November 15, 2018 here.