We are facing an escalating humanitarian crisis as a growing number of children flee escalating violence in Central America. So far in FY 2014 alone 57,000 children have sought refuge at our borders. It is from dire circumstances that a child chooses to migrate thousands of miles. As people of faith we have an ethical obligation to care for the most vulnerable among us. The root causes of these changing migration patterns are extreme poverty, violence, and rising homicide rates in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, from which most of the children are arriving.
Compassion and Prayers for Unaccompanied Migrant Children
Congregations from the UCC Southern California Nevada Conference participated in a faith-based delegation traveling to the Naval Base Ventura County in Oxnard, Calif., which is currently housing hundreds of unaccompanied Central American children, to ensure transparency and oversight at the facility.
Join people of faith in praying and acting to protect these children! The United Church of Christ is urging members and congregations to take a moment during church services to pray for and stand in silent witness with thousands of young refugees fleeing violence and conflict in Central America and the people and communities throughout the country working to help them.
There are several things you and your congregation can do:
Pray -Your church can pray for the protection of the children, who have travelled hundreds of miles to escape the violence in their home countries. During church services on Sunday, July 20 is the is a day designiated for interfaith engagement but any day you congregation choses will work, the UCC is asking for prayers of support for:
The children and their families. For the violence and poverty that forces people to leave their homes and loved ones. For the broken hearts of parents seperated from their children. For a better world where all God's children can find safety.
The United Church of Christ national headquarters, which is issuing a special appeal to raise funds to assist these refugee women and children, a response to UCC congregations seeking ways to help.
The UCC-affiliated Bethany Children’s Home in Womelsdorf, Penn., which has so far helped more than 60 unaccompanied minors through its Helping Hands program, and plans to help hundreds more in the coming months.
Yuma United Church of Christ in Yuma, Ariz., which provides food, clothing, water, diapers and other supplies to women and children left by U.S. Border Patrol in public parking lots to fend for themselves.
The Southwest Conference of the United Church of Christ, which is serving as a donation collection center and working to distribute supplies to its local congregations.
The Southern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ that is supporting the work of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, which has so far collected and distributed tens of thousands of items to young refugees.
United Church of the Valley United Church of Christ in Murrieta, Calif., whose members brought a peaceful presence to the city’s angry protests, and continue to advocate for these children by working with their congressional representatives.
Act - You and your congregation can call your members of Congress and urge them to reject rollbacks to child protections laws! As the U.S. government responds to the humanitarian crisis faced by unaccompanied children and families fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, both President Obama and some Members of Congress are proposing changes to the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008. Proposals to "deport children more quickly" would return unaccompanied children to exploitation, trafficking and unsafe situations.
Take action by calling 1-866-940-2439 to be connected with the offices of your Representative and both of your Senators or by visiting tiny.cc/ProtectKids for more info.
Give - Your financial contribution is multiplied by joining with others to increase the capacity of the UCC to address humanitarian needs and to shape the future. Provide food, water, safe places, a listening pastoral ear, religious services, and legal assistance that provides access to the U.S. legal system to tell stories for official documentation. The situation changes rapidly. You are there in the right place at the right time. Thank you for your contributions.
Make a secure on-line donation noting "Unaccompanied Child Refugees" in the comments section. Gifts may also be made at your local UCC congregation noting support for “Unaccompanied Child Refugees". Gifts should then be sent through your Conference office on to Wider Church Ministries. Donations may also be made out and sent directly to Wider Church Ministries, Financial Services - 6th Floor, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.
Join Us - Come to Washington, D.C. on Thursday, July 31 to tell the President to stop ALL deportations! More than 2 million deportations have taken place under the current administration, and now the our leader's are propsing to deport children fleeing poverty and violence. We cannot stand for immigration policies that are rooted in isolationism, protectionism, and detachment: all of which are antithetical to our call as Christians to love and provide hospitality for the most vulnerable.
Please contact UCC Rev. Noel Andersen if you can join people of faith from all over to sacrificially engage in civil disobedience in front of the White House on July 31 and urge President Obama to stop ALL deportations, whether the person is 5 years old or 105.
Call:Demand that Congress Reject Rollbacks to Child Protection Law - Proposals to "deport children more quickly" would return unaccompanied children to exploitation, trafficking and unsafe situations. Call 1-866-940-2439 to be connected with the offices of your Representative and both of your Senators or visit tiny.cc/ProtectKids for more info.
Write:Take Action to Support Unaccompanied Children at the Border - We can help to ensure that the U.S. refugee services programs, which help serve the needs of these young people and other families fleeing violence, are funded appropriately so they can continue to meet this growing need. Take action now.