Episcopal bishops to lead service
lamenting immigrants' plight, border restrictions
Service will draw people from Los Angeles, Orange,
San Diego, Imperial, Riverside Counties and Yuma, Arizona
LEMON GROVE, CA - Because newly announced US Border Patrol restrictions severely inhibit an annual communion service held for the past six years on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. border fence, an alternate Service of Lament recognizing the plight of immigrants is set for 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 17, at St. Philip's Episcopal Church, 2660 Hardy Drive, Lemon Grove. All are welcome to attend.
Episcopalians from the Diocese of San Diego and Los Angeles will stand in solidarity with immigrants as they travel the Via Crucis, the Way of the Cross, a service of 14 stations commemorating Jesus' walk to his crucifixion.
Traditionally, the event has been a joint communion service on both sides of the fence that separates the U.S. from Mexico with Anglicans on both sides. This week, just days before the event, planners received the following restrictions from Border Patrol:
- No more than 10 people allowed inside the Friendship Circle at any given time.
- No media outlets will be permitted inside the Friendship Circle.
- No photography or video.
- Overt political messages will not be permitted.
- No equipment including large crosses will be allowed.
Based on these new restrictions, planners do not believe they can adequately show solidarity with immigrants at the border. Participants will instead finish the Stations of the Cross (Via Crucis) at St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Lemon Grove where they will conduct a service of lament to share deep concerns about immigration policies and practices in this country and demonstrate shared desire for immigration reform.
The Rt. Rev. John Taylor, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, the Rt. Rev. Diane Jardine Bruce, bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, and the Rt. Rev, Katharine Jefferts Schori, assisting bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, will attend, as well as pilgrims from Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Imperial, Riverside, Santa Barbara counties and Yuma, Arizona. Attendees hope to draw attention to the plight of immigrants as they travel the way of the cross. They will witness to the memory that Jesus was also perceived as an alien, and an unwelcome immigrant.
"Human beings have migrated since before they were clearly human," said Jefferts Schori. "Our journeys have been driven by the search for food, shelter, and safety, as well as freedom from control and oppression by others. Called to the Wall is an Episcopal witness to concerns about borders and migration. Our prayerful work expresses the urgent desire for justice and mercy in engaging all migrants, and the ancient yearning for God's justice here on earth, as it is in heaven. We continue to pray and advocate for that justice, that all humanity might live in peace. The journey may be long, yet we will persist, for the spiritual migration involved in learning to love our neighbors is ultimately essential to the flourishing of us all."
Participants are welcome at any point along the pilgrimage:
- 7:30 a.m. at Cathedral Center of St. Paul, 840 Echo Park, Los Angeles, Opening Devotion (Stations 1-3)
- 9 a.m. at St. Michael's, 311 W. South St., Anaheim, 92805 (Stations 4-7)
- 12:30 p.m. at St. Philip's, 2660 Hardy Drive, Lemon Grove, CA 91945 (Stations 8 - 14)