The Rev. Lilian Lucrecia “Luky” Cotto
Coordinator, Latino Ministries
610.666.9090 ext. 1022
When 6-year-old “Mariana” came from Guatemala with her aunt and cousin this year to join her mother in Warrington, Pa., she got separated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers at the U.S. southwest border in Arizona and placed in detention with other children. And then she got lost in the system.
Her mother, who came here several years ago to escape domestic violence, was frantic with fear. Lacking adequate English skills, she relied on her pastor, the Rev. Lillian “Luky” Cotto, to contact ICE officials almost daily with urgent appeals for updates on their search. After three weeks, “Mariana” was found at a center in nearby New York, and she was finally reunited with her family, who are members of Cotto’s Casa del Pueblo congregation at St. Paul’s UMC Warrington. Read more…
The Rev. Evodia Villalvia, pastor of El Buen Samaritano UMC in West Chester, sought help in October for one of her members, a young Latina immigrant mother whose husband had been detained and then deported back to Honduras. “Isabella” and her husband came to the U.S. with their young son in 2013, escaping gang violence that threatened their son’s life. She then gave birth to a daughter, got a job, joined the church and was given three years to seek asylum. But her work permit expired, and she recently was denied asylum. Thus, she may be deported at any time.
Villalvia sought help from West Chester UMC, El Buen Samaritano’s partner church, and from South District Superintendent, the Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm. Isabella shared her story with Bishop Peggy Johnson and the Rev. Luky Cotto, Latino Ministries Coordinator and pastor of the Casa del Pueblo ministry in Hatboro. Local immigration attorneys and Casa del Pueblo’s part-time attorney were unable to help Isabella under current political conditions, with a broken immigration justice system. But both churches are helping her with food and other basic necessities, plus English lessons.
“It is quite sad that there seems to be nothing that can be done legally at this time,” said the Rev. Molly Dee Rounsley, West Chester UMC’s Associate Pastor. Pictured here after the meeting are (from right) Taylor-Storm, Rounsley, Villalvia, Cotto, Bishop Johnson, who wrote about Isabella’s ordeal in her Bishop’s Blog (“Via Dolorosa”), and Luis Castillo, a translator. John Coleman photo
Nine social justice advocacy groups in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference together have issued a formal statement expressing urgent concern over recent law enforcement actions that threaten the peace and security of immigrant residents in our region.
The Call to Justice and Mercy in Response to Anti-Immigrant Federal Policies calls on United Methodists to “honor our historic Methodist legacy of commitment to justice and mercy for those who are poor and displaced.” Learn more…
Iglesias Latino / Latino Churches in Eastern PA Conference – United Methodists in Eastern Pennsylvania reach out to the Spanish-speaking communities by starting new Latino churches. Here is a list of Latino ministries, including contact information for the churches and their pastors.
NEWSpirit se publica periódicamente por las Comunicaciones NEWSpirit de la Conferencia del Este de PA para informar a sus miembros e iglesias sobre ministerios que manifiestan el testimonio espiritual y social de las personas llamadas Metodistas. Para más información e inspiración, favor de visitar nuestra página web www.epaumc.org. También nuestras otras publicaciones: NEWSpirit, nuestro periódico trimestral en línea, y NEWSpirit Digest, nuestra hoja informativa semanal.
Learn more on our Immigration Ministry Concerns webpage