Immigration Bail Fund – Comic Relief – Minute for Mission – October 8, 2017

Comic Relief – Immigration Bail Fund

What a week we’ve just been through! For that matter, what a month! What a year! Fires, Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Mass murder, health care debates. The list seems endless. We are being worn down. Here’s what Shannon Vance-Ocampo, our new Presbytery Exec, wrote:

This week I must say I am emotionally and spiritually exhausted, given the state of things in our country and our world. The levels of violence, mockery, lack of relationship and suffering are overwhelming for so many of us. As a pastor I know it is a daunting task to bring Good News.

The task is daunting, even for those of us who do not identify as pastors!

Maybe it’s time for some kind of relief? Maybe even some COMIC RELIEF?

I hope so. I need that, and it’s what I’m here to talk about.

So what’s COMIC RELIEF?

Well, it’s what will happen when an imam, a rabbi and a minister walk into a room at Mishkan Israel THIS THURSDAY at 7 PM. It’s — stand up — comic relief.

It’s a fund raiser, and a chance to gather with people of many faiths (probably some of no faith) from all around this state in support of a good cause. It’s a chance to do good while feeling good! More about this later.

In March this year, our Session adopted the New Sanctuary Movement Pledge. Its purpose is to highlight the plight of immigrants, and to stand with them, protect them, and advocate for them. Here are two ways our congregation’s mission is trying to help.

As many of you know, Marco Antonio Reyes has been living at First & Summerfield United Methodist Church seeking sanctuary from a deportation order. Of course a construction worker can’t do much to support his family while confined in sanctuary. Our mission committee just joined many others and made a small contribution toward his and his family’s support.

Sanctuary is hard on people. But the realities for immigrants when Immigration (ICE) arrests one or more family members are harsher. Immigrants who cannot afford bond remain in jail due solely to their poverty, regardless of alleged “flight risk.” While detained, many lose their jobs, housing, and custody of their children. Unlike defendants facing criminal charges, immigrant detainees have no right to counsel; and it is extremely difficult to secure representation behind bars. So, those who bond out of immigrant detention are five times more likely to secure a lawyer, and those with legal counsel are twice as likely to win their cases.

That is why our mission committee just sent a small contribution to the Immigrant Bail Fund — which, by the way, is a first of its kind in this country. In its first seven months it has provided bail to at least eight immigrants living in Connecticut.

And it’s why COMIC RELIEF is important. Beside being fun, and neighborly, it’s a chance to support the Immigrant Bail Fund. It’s a chance for us goin our efforts to do something for justice, and for ourselves.

As a sponsoring donor, FPC has several passes for people to attend. Please sign up on the welcome table, or see me. There’ll be opportunity to make a further donation at the event, should you wish.

So for a bit of COMIC RELIEF from all that’s going down, sign up at the welcome table and come to the event this Thursday at 7 PM, at Mishkan. Herb assures me it’ll be fun. Bring your friends!

And do keep immigrants in your prayers, this week and every week.