Friday, November 20, 2015

Regarding Current Events in Our Community and World, by The Rev. Peter J. Van Hook

Two very important pastoral concerns have arisen in the last two weeks. They are the recent change to the policies regarding blessings and baptism of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the killings in Paris and the resulting backlash against Syrian immigrants.

​In response to both of these events, Bishop Hayashi has posted some excellent reflections on his Facebook page, and I commend his thoughts to you.
Regarding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint's policy, click (here)
Regarding the violence in Paris/Syrian immigrants situation, click (here) )
To his posts I can add only two things:

First, St. Mary's Church--that is, its people--is a welcoming and accepting faith community. One of our goals and values is to be a sanctuary for those who are seeking, searching, or hurting. I expect that we will continue to do that.

Second, in regard to the refugee crisis, I would note that Jesus began his life as a homeless person (born in a stable) and a refugee (the flight into Egypt). Read the first few chapters of the Gospels according to Matthew and Luke for the details. We are called by Him to care for the poor, the homeless, the incarcerated, the sick. Such care is not always comfortable, but it is part of our call as Christian persons. (Cf. Matthew 25:35-46.)

Finally, there is a program of The Episcopal Church called Episcopal Migration Ministries [EMM] (www.episcopalmigrationministries.org). Its predecessor agency, the Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief, was founded in the early 1940s to rescue and resettle Jews escaping Europe. The PB's Fund later became two agencies, Episcopal Relief and Development [ERD] and EMM. I will report to you next week on what our Church is doing during this crisis.

The Rev. Peter J. Van Hook,​​ Priest-in-Charge

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