NOTE: When I sat down to write this letter to our church family on Wednesday, the news came that President Trump had signed an executive order regarding the situation discussed below. While I am glad this executive order has been passed, I still believe it is worthwhile to follow through on the five commitments outlined below for at least a week in the hopes of restoration of families. I hope you will join me.  Fr Tim

Each summer I look forward to vacation, to time with family, to getting in the kayak, to taking the next step in our Clayton barn-restoration plan. This year I find that as I approach these weeks I’m not entirely at ease: as a matter of conscience I cannot continue everyday life as if all is normal given the crisis of families being separated at our southern border.

Because the love of parents for their children is a sweet and tender thing, I am fasting all sweets—chocolate, ice cream, etc.—and committing myself to prayer for all separated families and for our political leaders until this policy is ended. I believe it is important for me to do something that costs me (even as relatively slight as giving up sweets may be) and to let that discomfort drive me to prayer.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have long been the stalwart and wise voices supporting marriage and family in our culture, and well we should be. Regardless of one’s political views in general—and about immigration in particular—and regardless of how one would sort the blame for what is happening, Christians have rightly long held that the Scriptures present family as God’s most foundational plan for human well-being; it is a gift and design of God that must be respected, and it is deeper and more fundamental than other ties. Friends, we are responsible to continue that good witness of being for marriage and family in this new frontier as well.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, while I am responsible for what is in this message, CTR’s clergy and some of our staff (among whom there is a range of views on various issues) are joining Cheryl and me in the below five commitments:

Weep with us upon hearing the cries of these children. Statistically at least many of these are our brothers and sisters in Christ (which is, of course, our greatest identity, transcending all other identities).

Do something that costs us personally and that leads us to prayer. This is a spiritual principle of solidarity: if we are not willing to do something that costs us and let that lead us to consistent prayer, then we’re just complaining.

Pray for all sides, and for our leaders: for an end to the separation of families, for the restoration of families, for protection for the children (who the Italians call the innocenti), and for a better way forward.

Search the Scriptures (study what the Word of God says about immigrants, for instance) at least as much as we listen to the news.

Read or listen to some news from other points of view than our own.

We invite you to join with us as well.