Pastoral letter from Bishop Scanlan regarding immigration

Posted on

June 19, 2018  

Dear Members of the Episcopal Church in Central Pennsylvania,

The news of our government’s immigration enforcement at the Mexico-United States border has captured our attention in recent days; as a nation we are coming to understand how the “no tolerance” policy of regarding illegal immigrants is impacting families. Parents are imprisoned and their children are being placed in government detention facilities with no clear plans for reuniting them with family members. The Associated Press has reported that nearly 2,000 children have been separated and detained in the last six weeks.

On Friday (June 15, 2018), I blogged about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ use of Holy Scripture to support this new immigration policy ( In that blog I noted the inappropriateness of proof-texting (using a small piece of Holy Scripture to argue a single point) and offered some exegetical commentary on St. Paul’s Romans 13. I believe following the law is honorable. I do not believe that separating children from their parents is ever appropriate unless a child is directly at risk from those parents.

Clearly, our call is to find a better way to legislate immigration practices in our country and to find just and humane ways to treat all immigrants. The current practice which puts children in traumatic situations is cruel, unjust and intolerable.

Please pray for these children, for their welfare, and for our government that we might quickly find a better way.

The Episcopal Public Policy Network and the Office of Government Relations has put together resources for study, prayer and action. Please find their materials including a statement from The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop, at

For the Human Family

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. Book of Common Prayer pg. 815.

In Christ’s love,

The Rt. Rev. Audrey C. Scanlan
XI Bishop
101 Pine Street, P.O. Box 11937, Harrisburg, PA 17108
+  717-236-5959   +  fax   717-236-6448   +
  To view the e-mailed letter, click here.
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