SoCal Presbyterian Immigrant Accompaniment Ministry
SoCal Presbyterian Immigrant Accompaniment Ministry is a growing network of Presbyterians around Southern California, in ecumenical collaboration with the Matthew 25/Mateo 25 SoCal Movement, striving to follow Christ’s call to welcome the stranger by opening our churches, homes, and hearts to sisters and brothers seeking asylum.
Our mission is to strengthen and expand a faith-rooted, compassionate response to immigrants and refugees in our communities by equipping, empowering, and supporting congregations and individuals to joyfully and faithfully engage in accompaniment and advocacy.
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I hope this finds you all safe and well, and for the strange and challenging moment we are living in, I invite you to read this prayer adapted from Nadia Bolz-Weber’s Prayers for Sunday, April 26th, 2020:
Holy God hear my intercessions,
For those who are giving birth alone; for those who are grieving without their people; for the beleaguered parents who ran out of creative ideas two weeks ago; for those who don’t know where this week’s grocery money will come from; for everyone who has watched the date of their wedding, or their graduation, or their birthday, or their dissertation defense, or their long hoped for vacation, or their family reunion, or the “non-essential” medical procedure they hoped would change their life, come and go; for the exhausted and the despairing, I ask that your comfort, your presence, and your peace be felt. And if that’s not possible, could you just nudge the right person to reach out and call them? Just that Lord. Just that?
How can you and your congregation get involved?
Join a Circle of Support
• Be a part of a team of people who commit to coming alongside a family or individual in the asylum process. This may include things like visiting, providing transportation, assisting with translation, gathering necessary clothing/home goods, or purchasing grocery gift cards.
Consider Becoming a Host
• Extend hospitality by welcoming an asylum seeker -family or individual- into your home or church. The SoCal Presbyterian Immigrant Accompaniment Ministry and our ecumenical partners will support you, your family, and your church family as you live into the blessings and challenges of sharing life together.
Detention Center Visitation
• As you are all aware, each of us have a part to play in slowing the spread of the virus, and as challenging as this is for those of us committed to a ministry rooted in physical presence and in-person accompaniment, it seems that our adoption of best practices in the current moment, including social distancing, is what’s best for the community as a whole. All that to say, the SoCal Presbyterian Accompaniment Ministry has made the difficult decision to suspend visits to Adelanto at this time. Group visitation will not be facilitated for the March 20th date.
As of today, Adelanto is still allowing visitation but has limited visits to 15 minutes in a non-contact setting; communication by phone on either side of a plexiglass divider. I was also informed that the reception area has cordoned off and installed a plexiglass wall in front of the desk to ensure that some distance is maintained as visitors check in, and signage is posted requesting that anyone feeling unwell, presenting symptoms, or who has recently traveled to China refrain from visiting for the time being.
Please contact Kristi for information about how to write letters to those in detention as a way of being community at a distance.
Speak Out for Change
• Join people of faith in education and action for just public policies that promote welcome and flourishing within our communities, our region, and across our
Presbytery of San Gabriel | Presbytery of the Pacific
Kristi is in her final year at Fuller Theological Seminary where she is pursuing a Master of Divinity in preparation for ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She served for seven years in El Salvador as a PC(USA) Mission Co-Worker, and since returning to the U.S. in 2017 has served as Parish Intern for Pastoral Care at Claremont Presbyterian Church. Kristi has a passion for bringing people together and fostering relationships of mutual accompaniment. She is thrilled to be a part of this ministry and the new ways that God’s Spirit is moving in and through our Presbyteries to offer hospitality and hope to some of our most vulnerable siblings.