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 

 

 

 

              


 
 
 
JUNE MESSAGE FROM OUR VICAR 
 
Dear Friends and Parishioners,  
 
   At one point in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus says to his disciples, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. Even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.” In other words, he is saying that sometimes the value of what we do and who we are in life is known only to God. The material rewards that we too often expect for our blood, sweat,  and tears, for our sacrifices, do not always appear. We do not necessarily receive a quid pro quo for all the things we accomplish in life. We need to remember, at times like these, that our self-worth comes not from what we or others can see or touch, but rather from those attributes which are cultivated in the human heart and are known often only to God – attributes such as love, forgiveness ,gentleness, patience, goodness, mercy. 

   In one of Rabbi William Silverman's books, he tells the story of a young boy name Joseph Levy, whose sole ambition from an early age was to be immortalized in some way. As a youngster he carved his name on a tree in the woods, and thought  “Now everyone who goes by this tree will know the name Joseph Levy.” His family moved away, and years later when he came back for a visit, he discovered the tree had been chopped down and his name with it. He then decided to chisel his name into something more enduring, like a rock. He found one perched high on a cliff. When he came back again years later, the wind and the rain had weathered the letters away in the soft sandstone, and his name could hardly be deciphered. In time, Joseph Levy became a successful businessman and declared, “I will erect an imposing building and will call it, The Joseph Levy Building.”  And so he did. But a few years later, a fire burned the structure to the ground. Discouraged and despairing of ever perpetuating his name, he began to share his means with worthy causes and needy people. One day, he went to the ward of a children's hospital and brought toys for the poor and sick children. One little girl looked up at him with gratitude in her eyes and said, “Mr. Levy, I will never forget you.” He  smiled and said, “Thank you, dear. That is sweet of you to say, but I’m afraid that after a while, you will.” “Oh, no,” the child responded, “I will never forget you because, you see, your name is written on my heart.”

     Our sense of self-worth in this life comes about not through the monuments we build for ourselves in marble or in stone, but rather through the attributes of life implanted deep within our hearts, attributes such as patience, love, kindness and forgiveness. Our lives do count, we are of value, in God’s sight, always. Our sense of accomplishment, of worth, is never achieved without some cost, without some struggle. To be truly committed followers of this Jesus, the Christ, means that we must be totally available to others, and that is risky. As He himself comes to us as One who is totally available, so, too, must we become totally available to God and to those who surround us in life and love. Then, and only then. will the Lord’s Christ also say of us, “I will never, never, forget you, because your name is written on my heart.”
 
Faithfully,
The Rev. Philip W. Stowell
Vicar