Bishop, UMs lead prayer vigil for detained ‘Berks Madres’
immigration, bishop johnson, berks madres

New co-chair, Oct. 21 event for immigration advocacy team

The Eastern PA Conference Rapid Response Team (RRT) has a new co-leader and a new event for advocates of immigration justice and mercy to support.

The Rev. Lydia Munoz now co-chairs of the RRT along with Ruth Daugherty, as the Rev. Lilian “Luky” Cotto steps down. Munoz is pastor of Church of the Open Door (a fitting name) in Kennett Square and, like Cotto, a member of the Latino Commission. RRT leaders participate monthly in nationwide conference calls, for updates on immigration issues and incidents, organized by the UMC Board of Church & Society with other RRT leaders around the Connection.

In addition, immigration advocates from our conference and other religious groups will gather for another prayer and protest vigil outside the Berks County Residential Center in Leesport (1040 Berks Road), near Reading, on Sunday, Oct. 21, at 3:30 PM. Immigrant adults and children are detained there while awaiting judicial decisions on their appeals for asylum and safety from dangerous conditions in their homelands.

Bishop Peggy Johnson and RRT members will lead the interfaith event, as they did March 12, 2017. (See our story, “Bishop, UMs lead prayer vigil for detained ‘Berks Madres.’”) That’s when about 90 people gathered to worship and witness for justice and mercy outside the detention center, located across from the county prison in Bern Township.

Eastern PA Conference immigration justice advocates participate in the “Shut Down Berks Interfaith Witness” coalition; and it is their turn to lead the protest and prayer event again. Learn more about the Berks County center’s current population and controversial conditions in the Morning Call’s “Immigrant family detention center puts Berks County in eye of political storm.”  Also see the Berks Interfaith “Vigil Guidelines and Information.”

Moreover, the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, a partner of the Board of Church & Society, published a legislative advocacy resource, “Engage With Congress on Family Incarceration & Separation,” along with other resources and information. They also provide occasion webinars. Visit their website to learn more.