To The People of St. Michael’s Church, Coolidge:


The following is a statement by our Diocesan Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Kirk Smith, which expresses the position of the Episcopal Church on the current immigration practice of taking children away from their parents at our borders. Bob Flaherty, Carol Hosler, and I feel the need to share this with you as it also expresses our feelings on this issue.


“No matter your position on the immigration crisis, Americans don't take children away from their parents! And Christians don't abuse the stranger in our midst. The Bible is clear on this. You can find it in many passages, such as Jeremiah 22:3-5 -- "Do no wrong or violence to the alien." Or more strongly, Deuteronomy 27:19 -- "Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien...of justice." And yet in this so called Christian country, if the Holy Family turned up at the border, Joseph and Mary would be sent packing, and the baby Jesus would be placed in a holding cell.

It is hard for me to believe that a country which has always welcome those "huddled masses yearning to breathe free," could resort to such tactics against children. It is even harder for me to believe that anyone professing to be a Christian would condone what amounts to tactics designed simply to instill fear. So what can we do? We can start with the proverbial “contact your Congressperson” and insist that we stop such practices immediately. We can include those suffering in our daily prayers at home, and our weekly prayers at church. We can make a donation to Episcopal Migration Ministries, who has many people on the ground helping to try to make life easier for those who have lost their families.

I can safely say that this cruel behavior has grieved my heart more than any other action of our country's leadership. I am sure it must grieve the heart of Jesus. This is not who we are as a nation, or as the people of God. We can't complacently sit by while parents are weeping for their children. This has to stop now.”


Our own Presiding Bishop, The Most Reverend Michael Curry, had this to say: “This is not America. We do not separate families from children. It is going to take people in the pews. This is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue. It is a humanitarian issue. We need to be heard loud and clear on this one. Concern for the stranger, the person, is a core obligation of why we are. It is time for the sensible center of America’s believers to make their voices heard.”


The Reverend Philip W. Stowell, Vicar

The Reverend Dr. Robert Flaherty, Assistant

The Reverend Carol Hosler, former Vicar 


Dear Friends and Parishioners,  
Fear is perhaps one of the most complex and mysterious of all the human emotions to deal with. It covers a wide range of various intensities and colors of unpleasant feelings and affects. It can move from apprehension and timidity, to dread, anguish, panic, and outright terror. Common to all kinds of fear is a vague sense of something impending, a dreaded expectation of something harmful or painful. Of what are you most fearful in life?  What scares you the most? Are you afraid of change, of violence, of inflation? Or are you afraid of other races, of the younger generation, of other forms of government? Do you fear pain, loneliness, the loss of your job, failure? Or do you fear the passing of familiar landmarks, the opinions of others, growing older, and eventually death?

   Our Lord’s disciples suffered from the fear of a lost relationship. This man, this Jesus, whom they had learned to trust, and to whom they had transferred their loyalty and their love over the course of three years, had told them that he would be handed over to unfriendly people; that he would be put on trial; that he would be killed; that he would be separated from them. Then, in fact, all those things that he had told them took place, and they were afraid.

    That fear disappeared, of course, when Jesus came into the upper room where the disciples had gathered on Sunday evening and bestowed on them the gift of his Holy Spirit, an event which we refer to as Pentecost. St. John tells us that at that point the disciples were overjoyed when they encountered their Lord.

    The late Dr. Frederic Flach was a professor of psychiatry at Cornell University and related institutions, and the author of a book entitled Resilience--Discovering New Strength in Times of Stress. In his book, Dr. Flach suggests three different ways to alleviate emotional pain in our lives. One of those ways, he maintains, is to seek out and find an empathetic person, someone with whom we can share our fears and tribulations. Dr. Flach encourages us to find such people in our lives to whom we can turn, who can come close to us empathetically in times of fear and crisis, before those times occur. We, in turn, I believe, are called to be those kinds of persons for others.

    You and I are called by God to discover those around us to whom we can turn in times of fear and crisis.  We are also called to be God's presence in the world, and become that listening ear, that empathetic person, that Christ for others, so that when we are with them, they, too, like the disciples of old, can be filled with great joy and hope.
The Rev. Philip W. Stowell