I’m deeply grateful to our Session for supporting the faith leaders press conference that was held at Guilford Park Thursday, February 8 and to the many congregation members who came. The conference was in support of a clean Dream Act or similar legislation to protect the young people who were brought as children to this country without documentation.
Our elected officials were called on by name to do the right thing, the moral thing. There were no personal attacks and no partisanship. The event was political in the sense that elected leaders were called on because only our elected leaders can resolve this moral issue that touches the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people raised and educated among us.
If you were there or saw the conference on the news, I hope you agree that this was a deeply faithful event. The word of God was proclaimed in our sanctuary, proclaimed emphatically, by these faith leaders. I was moved by what the Spirit did through them. They were given no scripts, no assigned messages other than the general message of support for a Dream Act and support for keeping families together. And yet from the opening prayer by Jeff Paschal through the resounding closing call “Let My People Stay” by Rabbi Andy Koren, each affirmed with passion and clarity our scriptural imperative to love our neighbors and welcome the stranger.
Several stories of particular DACA recipients were shared. As David Fraccaro, Executive Director of FaithAction, often says, if we can take off our political hats and put on our faith hats, we can hear with greater clarity and come to consensus on the moral message: When people are suffering in fear, families are facing brutal abrupt estrangement, and young people are longing to make their place in the only world they have ever known, our faith compels us to speak out for them. That is what occurred on Thursday in our sanctuary.
We left on a hopeful, upbeat note with the impromptu simple words of “This Little Light of Mine” sung by the gathered crowd of over 100 people, accompanied by Rabbi Fred Guttman at the piano. May God bless these young Dreamers for their courage and these religious leaders for their faithful witness.
– Melanie Rodenbough