Bishop Allen shares a letter from the Diocesan Bishops of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Central America
Position of the Diocesan Bishops of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Central America,
Belize and Mexico on the termination of the TPS, DACA and CAM programs
The bishops of the Anglican Episcopal Churches of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, North and Southeast Mexico, met in San Salvador, El Salvador, from January 31 to February 2, 2018, to meditate, pray and analyze the evident hardening of the anti-migrant, racist and discriminatory policies adopted by the United States’ authorities, and that are embodied in the termination of the following programs: the Temporary Protected Status (TPS); Central American Minors (CAM) refugee program, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
These policies will affect hundreds of thousands of migrants, for example, people from Haiti, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize, Mexico and other countries.
Faced with this unresolved migration crisis, the diocesan bishops participating in the meeting expressed their position to the administration of the President and to the Congress of the United States of America. Specifically, we urged the search for:
- humanitarian and fair reception for migrants in the United States,
- the reasonable opportunity to identify ways to legalize their stay,
- particularly guarantee mobility and protection for children and adolescents, and
- protection of family unity.
A previously expressed in the same spirit in the letter issued by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church gathered in Phoenix in 2010:
- We exhort the authorities of the United States to keep in mind that God has always commanded us to love the stranger: "The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God." (Leviticus 19:34).
- We pray that the Holy Spirit will touch the hearts and minds of the authorities of the United States of America, so that they understand that migration is to the benefit of everyone.
- We do not accept the re-victimization of these migrants, who in principle are good people and many have been victims of death threats, of harsh conditions of economic and social vulnerability, while others have been victims of violence from both gangs and agents of the State of their countries of origin.
- We denounce that ending the adopted migration programs, without a possible alternative solution, violates human dignity and human rights, is discriminatory and racist.
- We absolutely reject the manipulative assertions of certain politicians pointing to migrants as criminals based solely on their irregular migration status and their belonging to other cultures and races.
- We ask the political authorities of the United States to refrain from expelling the migrants, since this act would be an affront against God, our churches and divine creation.
- We give thanks to, and join the struggle of, the Episcopal churches of the United States and other denominations as well as groups of people who defend the human rights of migrants. We invite you to continue working together on regional and interprovincial projects to help resolve the migration crisis.
- We recognize the support, solidarity and sensitivity of the people of the United States, who have made space in their hearts and consciences for migrants. To these noble and humane people belong the faithful of churches, legislators, senators and politicians sincerely concerned that this situation be regularized, seeking peace and social harmony.
- We urge our political authorities in Central America, Belize and Mexico to coordinate and work on decent and humane proposals in favor of migrants and then present them in a negotiating dialogue with the United States’ authorities.
- We demand the political authorities of our countries, regions and the United States, to work together to promote structural changes in their respective countries so that there are conditions of employment, health, education, security, housing, basic services and other conditions so that people abandon the idea of emigrating.
- In the face of the migration crisis, the united voices of the bishops in this meeting remind all political authorities that it does not matter what was done incorrectly in the past or what was omitted to be done, but how beautiful we can build together hereinafter, cultivating in the present a fraternal dialogue, respectful and dignified among all, to attend to the migratory victims.
- We must all remember that no one is a migrant, because although we come from one place and go to another, we are always within God's creation. He has made us stewards of creation so that we live together in harmony, freedom, and with equality for mobility, equity and responsibility.
Finally, we express to our sister and brother migrants: we will continue working for you and we commit ourselves to work in pastoral care for migrants at the local, regional and interprovincial levels.
San Salvador, February 02, 2018
The Rt. Rev. Juan David Alvarado, Diocese of El Salvador
The Most Reverend Francisco Moreno, Primate of the Province of Mexico
The Rt. Rev. Lloyd Allen, Diocese of Honduras
The Rt. Rev. Julio Murray, Diocese of Panamá y Costa Rica
The Rt. Rev. Philip Wright, Diocese of Belize
The Rt. Rev. Benito Juárez, Diocese of Southeast Mexico
The Rt. Rev. Silvestre Romero, Diocese of Guatemala
Calendar of Events
Episcopal Relief & Development is celebrating 75 Years of Healing a Hurting World through programs such as our Microfinance Program. This inspiring video is on María and her daughter Verónica, program participants who were empowered to create sustainable income, growing their business and enhancing the whole family's well-being! Learn how you can be a part of this exciting celebration of Healing a Hurting World here: episcopalrelief.org/75. It takes #AllHands75!
STATEMENT FROM THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF HONDURAS
Isaiah Chapter 10: verses 1 and 2
“Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.”
It’s Enough, Stop the Killings
Six years ago the Episcopal Church began its pastoral work and ministry between the Lenca peoples in the western department of Intibucá. The Bishop, priests, deacons and the lay community of the Episcopal Church of Honduras deeply regret the despicable murder of the leader of the Lenca peoples, who was a defender of indigenous rights and a protector of the environment in the sacred river territory of Gualcarque.
As such we declare the following:
The Episcopal Church of Honduras is aware that life is a gift given by our Creator. We are aware that life is a universal and inalienable right of every human being and must be protected both by society and the State in order to preserve justice, peace and mutual coexistence. We are also, aware that the Honduran Constitution in Article 59 states: "The human person is the supreme goal of society and the state for which all have an obligation to respect and protect. The dignity of the human being is inviolable." Additionally, the provisions of the ILO Convention 169, of which Honduras is a member, declared that “the homeland of indigenous and tribal peoples are independent countries." It is imperative that the International rules in this agreement, along with those established by the United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples, be observed. As such, we strongly condemn the crime against humanity in the murder of our sister Berta Caceres.
As people of God, we strongly condemn the heinous act of murder perpetrated on the indigenous leader of the Lenca peoples, Berta Caceres. She was a brave and unwavering advocate for the rights of both indigenous peoples and the protection of the environment. She who leaves a lasting impression on the Honduran people. Her death leaves a bitter taste that compels us to speak out.
As the church we raise our prophetic voice insisting that this murder not go unpunished. NO MORE IMPUNITY! ENOUGH OF THE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN! We are alarmed by the increasing rates of violence against women, with little or no response from the authorities. Authorities who are obligated to defend and preserve lives through enforcement of policies designed to ensure that all people within our civil society and government must respond urgently to this problem therefore, as part ofGod’s Church, and regarding this crime against humanity:
We request that our President pledge to abide by Article 59 of our constitution and Convention 169 of the ILO (International Labor Organization) as contained in the UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples. Since, it is the inescapable duty of society and the State to ensure respect for the life of every human being regardless of gender, economic status, political affiliation, or social standing, we call for justice to be done in this case and for the government not to rest until this crime has been solved.
Likewise we ask that the different powers of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government enforce the laws already in effect in Honduras concerning murder and violence of all kinds against girls and women. These laws are intended as instruments to guarantee and protect life and to combat the violence against women and girls, as well as protect them from human trafficking to which many of them are victims. We call on the authorities to fulfill their duty to honor life, environmental rights, and the rights of indigenous peoples. Likewise, we call on the state to combat those involved in drug trafficking and organized crime. These were the banners that our sister Berta Caceres hoisted tirelessly during her lifetime. Finally, we end with the famous quote of the Chilean writer Pablo Neruda, who in one of his poems wrote. "They can cut all the flowers, but they can never stop the spring"
San Pedro Sula, on the fifth day of March in the year of Our Lord, two thousand sixteen.
Letter from the Bishop to Short-term Mission Teams
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
For more than 30 years, short term mission teams have come to work with the Episcopal Diocese of Honduras in serving the people of Honduras. Mission Teams of all types; construction, medical, evangelistic, youth retreats and Vacation Bible Schools. These teams have been to Tegucigalpa, Danli, Yuscaran, La Ceiba, Roatan, San Pedro Sula, Tela, Santa Barbara, Corinto, San Marcos, Omoa, Puerto Cortes, and Copan just to mention a few
Honduras is a beautiful country with beautiful people living in the lifestyle of a third world. As a native son, I have witnessed a lot of changes; political, economic, educational, sociological, cultural and spiritual. Change always has its good and bad points, but most of the changes in my country, have been for the better. However, life is very hard for most of my fellow Hondurans.
Living in Tegucigalpa or San Pedro Sula is not much different from where many of you have homes in the United States. The one issue we face here, as with everywhere else in the world, is that of the security of our home and property. Just two week ago I returned from South East Asia where security is a great concern there as well. Last week I was in Central Florida and was staying with a very good friend. He allowed me to turn on his television and watched an entire news cast about death and violence. I know that these days you will be very aware of the security issues faced by all countries because our communication ability is instant and keeps us connected. The media of today, TV, radio, cell phones, computers, newspapers, magazines, and government posted travel warnings and our friends who live in many countries throughout the world say that safe living and security is a concern worldwide!!!
Today, there is a “fear” that hinders, controls, and manipulates God’s people from being where they are called to be for Him. Thank God we have these reports so that we can pray, make wise decisions and choices, but these reports can paralyze us from ever going anywhere! The question for Christians to ask in these times is, “Is God calling me?” Is God calling you or you and a team to go and do a certain work?
If God is calling you, then you have a responsibility as a Christian to answer that call, to respond to it. “Fear” can keep you from obeying the Lord.
Mission Teams should be first called by God. Then they need to be well informed, trained and prepared to enter a different culture. The Mission Team needs to be in touch with the area authority (that is in-country Host) who will help you work out and establish the who, what, when, and where. Never should a Mission Team go to an area anywhere without an inviting Host! You have been invited to Honduras for the last 13 years of my episcopate and I pray that you will continue to come and help furthering his kingdom in Honduras.
Mission Teams should always work under the authority of their inviting Host. Teams must listen to your host’s suggestions and work alongside the local people. The reason for this is that we who invite you are very aware of the current events occurring in the area and in no way would we want to jeopardize your safety or the work. We are always concerned for your protection while you are in our country.
I cannot assure you that accidents will never happen or that difficult circumstances will never present themselves, but after all where can you go in the world and expect everything to be perfect and safe? However, we have found that if your Mission Team follows the above suggestions it will help ensure that you have a safe and productive mission experience.
The reality today for all Mission teams is that the world is dangerous. No city, no state, no country can assure you of a safe, secure trip!
I want to encourage you, your Mission Team leaders, and the Mission Team members not to be caught up in this “FEAR” trap! Be prayerful, be obedient, be responsible, be aware, and come under your host’s authority. Yet most of all, trust the Lord in and with all things and then go where you are being called! “For God did not give us a Spirit of fear, but a Spirit of power, of love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
In the name above all names given on earth for Salvation, Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior.
The Rt. Rev. Lloyd Emmanuel Allen D.D.
III Diocesan Bishop of Honduras