Lutherans and other Christians throughout this nation and the world are deeply troubled by the images of children, including infants and the very young, being separated from their mothers and fathers at the border.
I want you to know the Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and advocacy staff members have been urging responsible people in the federal government to comply with the federal judge’s order for prompt reunification of children with their parents.
As bishop of the Grand Canyon Synod, along with many members of the Synod Council, I can testify that we stand in solidarity with Presiding Bishop Eaton’s efforts and that of more than a score of other religious leaders in declaring opposition to family separation. The statement of those religious leaders reads, in part:
“The security of the family provides critical mental, physical, and emotional support to the development and well-being of children. Leaving their communities is often the only option [migrant families] have to provide safety for their children and protect them from harm. Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children. As we continue to serve and love our neighbor, we pray for the children and families who will suffer due to this policy and urge the Administration to stop…separating families.”
While the separations are said to have stopped, I join Presiding Bishop Eaton and many other ELCA synodical bishops in urging that the reunification process be completed in a timely and compassionate manner.
You may wish to act, as you feel moved, through any of the following:
(1) making your voice heard by your U.S. senators and your U.S. House representative;
(2) advocating for the reunification of families quickly;
(3) supporting Lutheran and other church ministries working with the separated children and parents;
(4) remembering to vote; and
(5) praying without ceasing.
Among places in which Lutherans are engaged directly in this concern are through the ELCA’s AMMPARO initiative, which stands for Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation, and Opportunities. You may also view the resources of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, including the Family Separation Webinar and Toolkit.
In the Prayers of Intercession during worship, please remember to pray for those children still separated from their parents and for all children who stand in need of care and compassion.
Sincerely in Christ,
The Rev. Lowell G. Almen
Bishop of the Grand Canyon Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America