By Marcia Brown, Mission Interpreter
Filling the news lately is the crisis of tens of thousands of children crossing into the United States alone. There are very mixed feelings about them and what to do with and about them. Here is where the Church stands:
As a church that pursues justice, peace and human dignity for all people, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is committed to helping the thousands of unaccompanied children coming to the United States to escape violence and difficult situations in their home countries. To address this crisis, ELCA members are working through Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service to help find foster care for these children. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service estimates that 80,000 children will seek safety in the United States this year.
“As people of faith, we are reminded that among the children who had to flee across borders because of threat of life was our very own Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. When children flee across two international borders alone, the community of Jesus – the church – must accompany them,” said the Rev. Stephen Bouman, executive director, ELCA congregational and synodical mission. Rev. Bouman personally toured the border region in mid-July.
“The ELCA, through its partnership with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, is already involved through its congregations, social ministry organizations, advocacy, and Lutheran Immigration Refugee Service affiliates on the ground,” said Bouman. “We are pursuing both the short-term efforts at achieving safety and relevant social services for these children of God, as well as long-term systemic solutions to stem the flow of children cast adrift.”
“The children making this arduous trek north are fleeing violence, abuse and deep poverty and hunger, and are in desperate need of help and protection,” said Bouman. “Many are trying to reunite with family members here in the United States. By the time they cross the United States border, many have been robbed, raped or abused. The need is so large and current resources cannot keep pace.”
We confess with the wider church that all Christians are responsible to attend the needs of the lost, forgotten and lonely. Christians in the United States must help children in other countries find places free of violence and abuse where they can experience loving support and new opportunities.
We are Church for the sake of the world. God’s Work. Our Hands.