St. Paul's United Methodist Church
Monday, July 15, 2019



We invite you to worship with us each Sunday!
You will be warmly welcomed as you experience
the love and the grace of God through our
Sunday worship services and teaching.



TWO SERVICES - 8:30 AM & 10:15 AM
The folks of St. Paul’s offer worship in which we honor tradition, are challenged with the Christian journey, celebrate the Word and share our stories in the intimate setting that is St. Paul's Church. Parents are encouraged to bring their children to worship for the Children’s Celebration at each service. If you and your family are searching for meaningful worship and discipleship, join us for these opportunities to explore your faith. St. Paul’s is a spiritual home for people of all ages and backgrounds and for families, traditional and non-traditional, where creativity and passion for the Gospel flourish and we are bound by the love of God that draws us together.

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July 10, 2019



Dear Saints at St. Paul’s,
This week, Bishop Peggy Johnson and our District Superintendent, the Rev. Joe Archie, forwarded to all pastors and churches a joint Call to Action in response to the immigration and migrant detainment crisis from the UMC Board of Church and Society, immigration Task Force, UM Committee on Relief, and United Methodist Women. We’ve included it in this issue. One congregation in Philadelphia, First UMC of Germantown, has provided sanctuary for two families (9 adults and children) for nearly a year (since August 28, 2018). To put that commitment in perspective, across the US, eight UMC congregations and one synagogue are providing sanctuary for eight persons (several of them for two years).
What leads a congregation to take up that kind of labor of love?
Bishop Peggy Johnson has asked if we at St. Paul’s might consider serving as a sanctuary congregation for a mother and her daughter, who is hearing impaired. Our Bishop met the daughter at Camp Pecometh last week, along with other children and youth who are hearing impaired and found out more about her and her mother’s story. They have journeyed from Honduras to join family in Baltimore where the daughter is flourishing and where her mother has awaited an immigration hearing for three years while wearing a tracking bracelet. They do not yet need sanctuary, but may soon, depending on the outcome of the next hearing. Our Bishop knows about our desire to share life and ministry with those who are hearing impaired, and our witness in this community as neighbors in Christ and extended the invitation to us.
No law prevents ICE from entering a church building and arresting someone taking refuge there, but the agency refrains from doing so, recognizing church property as a sensitive location. Churches across the nation providing sanctuary for 56 adults and children appealing deportation decisions are providing this sensitive shelter to buy more time for immigration appeals – no one would willingly choose a kind of captivity in a church space but returning to hostility and hopelessness is worse. This feels like what witnessing, activating, and hosting the Kingdom of God to me, and I wanted to reach out to all of you to pray about how God might have us answer. In the meantime, I am also reaching out to pastors at the sanctuary congregations identified in the Call to Action to find out more about logistics, etc., to see what we might be getting ourselves into, but all of those questions feel secondary to the gut reaction of how Christ is responding through me and through us.
Yesterday, the Rev. Bob Coombe, who with the saints at First UMC of Germantown have hosted nine adults and children since last August 28, told me they understand sanctuary as a verb, rather than a noun. They first provided sanctuary to families fleeing civil unrest and persecution (of union organizers) in Guatemala in 1984. Their pastor, Ted Loder, wrote a book about the experience, No One But Us: Personal Reflections on Public Sanctuary. Pastor Bob Coombe told me that the church has received lots of support from the Sanctuary Movement and from people in the community drawn by this boundary-breaking ministry of justice and love. He also assured me he would be happy to meet with us and support us.
Rather than a traditional vote or debate concerning pros and cons, please simply pray about this opportunity and share with me whether you feel called to help in this ministry or not. Knowing as little as I do, I believe we will only be able to serve in this way together. I plan to make an opportunity for conversation during and after worship this Sunday (gathered around the story of the Samaritan who cared for the needs of the man who was robbed and left for dead).
Thank you all for journeying this Way with me! I look forward to hearing from you soon.