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Rev. Gretchen Heading to the Border

Dear members and friends,

I just set my alarm for slightly earlier than my usual Sunday morning 5:30. But instead of making the short journey up Drake to prepare for the holiday music service with all of you (one of my favorites!), I’ll be heading to the airport.

About 10 days ago, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and the Poor People’s Campaign sent out a call to clergy across the US to see who would be willing and able to join in an action at the San Diego/Tijuana border on December 10th. An action they call Love Knows No Borders: A Moral Call for Migrant Justice.

Over 200 faith leaders have responded. And I’m grateful to be among them.

For many across the US, this season marks a time that celebrates the welcome of a family seeking shelter. Both religiously and culturally, it is a time when we are remembering how much it matters how we treat those with the least power. And yet it is also a time in our country where we are meeting those the vulnerable with tear gas, detention, and fear-mongering.

UU minister Elizabeth Nguyen talks about the moment when news becomes family. I’m going to the border because for me, I’ve always felt a deep sense of the ways that migrants are family to me.

Not just because my daughter’s birth father immigrated from Mexico. Although, that’s definitely a part.

But even more because I remember my grandmother, who I look so much like, telling me about the Vietnamese immigrants she was helping in the mobile home park she oversaw for most of my life. How integrated this was to her religious faith, and what it meant to be a person.

And because my best friend up through 8th grade was an immigrant from Panama, and I definitely could not have made it through 4th grade without her.

And because my great grandparents needed the hope of a new life, and found it here in this country.

And most of all because it is my Unitarian Universalist faith that we are all in this life together. There is no liberation for me without liberation for all. As our new slogan says it – love unites us all! And, as the Christmas story reminds us, it is our responsibility to care for the homeless, the powerless, the refugees. To share the blessings of our lives, which are always, only a gift that we are called to pass on.

I fly out tomorrow at about 8:30. Sunday will be spent in trainings with other leaders, including Rev. Laurel from our sister church in Loveland, Namaqua UU. Sunday evening will include an interfaith service offered by the Poor People’s Campaign, with preaching from the incredible Rev. Traci Blackmon. Monday is the actual witness event at the border. There is risk involved, but not nearly the sort of risk that the migrants are facing walking thousands and thousands of miles to try to reach our borders.

I will be in touch as the events unfold. Foothills, have a wonderful music service tomorrow, where the theme is joy. I believe strongly that joy is an act of resistance in these times, and so, I hope it is a powerful morning of resistance and courage.

In partnership,
Rev. Gretchen