Hello fellow St. Lukians!
I hope all of you are well and weathering the current storms of illness and upheaval. We are so lucky to have one another and our God.
I want to catch you up with what is happening with Alex Burgos, our co-parishioner and legal asylum applicant. Alex’s original asylum hearing was scheduled for December 2019, but then was postponed (continued) until August 31, 2020. So many individuals, organizations, and public officials wrote to support his case that we were sure he would be granted the opportunity to stay with his new community!
Alas, Alex’s attorney called at the beginning of August to say the court had continued his case until November 5, 2021 at 10 AM. That’s right. 2021! The condition of the courts is chaotic and because Alex is here legally, his case is not urgent. Except to Alex.
In the meantime, Alex has received his work permit (thanks to your donations!), and his CA Driver’s License and identity card. He is able to work and is VERY anxious to do so. If any parishioners are looking for a dependable, capable man of the church to do work for them, please let the Reverends Nancy and Jane know. So many folks wanted to employ him before he had work status, and now he has it!
God has granted us the opportunity to save a life. Our Sanctuary Ministry is unique and acts as an example of what can be done in Christ’s name. God bless us.
On December 3, 2016 the 121st Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles overwhelmingly passed a resolution to declare the Diocese a “Sanctuary Diocese.” Citing the escalating attacks on the rights of immigrants, the Resolution included the following language: “Resolved, that the congregations and institutions of the Diocese of Los Angeles consider becoming Sanctuary Congregations and Institutions, serving as places of welcome, refuge, healing, and other forms of material and pastoral support for those targeted by hate due to immigration status or some perceived status of difference.”
In September 2017, the clergy of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church learned of the plight of a legal asylum seeker, Alexander Burgos, who was participating in a hunger strike at Adelanto detention facility and who was meeting with inhumane retaliatory treatment. Clergy met with attorneys and Diocesan representatives to educate themselves about the process of becoming a Sanctuary Congregation. A series of forums was conducted by Deacon Steve Alder, along with the Rev. Ricardo Avila and the Rev. Nancy Frausto, to ascertain the interests and concerns of the congregation about such a move, and in December 2017, the Vestry of St. Luke’s voted to serve as a Sanctuary Church and to set aside $5,000 in match-able funds to help with the legal expenses of Alexander Antonio Burgos Mejia, an asylum seeker from Honduras.
Click here to read more about their story.
We at St. Luke’s know about his conduct in our lives – his volunteerism, his conscientious attendance in English classes, and his gratitude for our role in his hard task of dealing with the trauma of his experiences. Over the next few months, we will amass a folder of letters and commendations to bring to the immigration judge. We also will recruit folks to attend his asylum hearing, “packing the court” to show our support of Alex.
In the meantime, what is asked of us as members of the St. Luke’s community is to follow through with our commitment to Sanctuary. This involves our continued financial support of the Sanctuary Fund. Thank you to the members of this church who helped Alex be released from detention, saving him from deportation and certain death in Honduras.
We hope every member of St. Luke’s will donate to the St. Luke’s Sanctuary Fund. It’s easy to help:
1. You can write a check with “Sanctuary” in the memo space.
Just mail it to the church (P.O. Box 20038, Long Beach, CA 90801).
2. You can donate online.
Your donations will help our friend and fellow parishioner, Alex, buy food, clothing, transportation, textbooks, and the necessities of life. A continuing donation helps us plan ahead and keep the Sanctuary Fund solvent. For more information, please contact Ann Burdette.
PACK THE COURT! SHOW UP FOR ALEX!
The holidays are approaching, and with this Advent, we have reached a pivotal point in our Sanctuary Ministry. Alex’s individual asylum hearing is scheduled for December 20, 2019.
We are working hard with Alex’s attorney and the Diocese to share with the Immigration Court the reasons that this wonderful young man needs and deserves asylum in the United States. Alex’s attorney says the most compelling evidence of Alex’s chances for success in the United States is “packing the court” with his allies.
The Bishop has said he will attend the hearing. Many of you have said you will attend. This is the truest example of Sanctuary Ministry; showing up to support our friend and parishioner in Christ’s name. Carpools are being organized! For more information and car/train directions click the following link:
For more information, keep reading.
Here’s what, where, when, and how:
Alexander Antonio Burgos Mejia
Individual hearing – Request for asylum
Friday, December 20, 2019 at 1:00 PM
Courtroom of the Honorable Janette L. Allen, Immigration Judge
Los Angeles Immigration Court
606 Olive Street 15th floor
Los Angeles, California 90014