From the Primus to the members of the Scottish Episcopal Church:
Today there is a real danger facing a number of desperate people from across South and Central America. A caravan of migrants is now making its way through the region from El Salvador to the USA. The authorities in the USA have mobilised the military to prevent them from crossing the American border.
The Anglican Primates of Central America and Mexico, my colleagues and friends Archbishops Julio and Francisco have written to the authorities of Central America, Mexico and the USA, as well as the United Nations. They describe the caravan of people as “a new Exodus” of “a marginalised people, enslaved in their respective countries through a reality of social and moral, neo-liberal economic sin which takes away their lives with injustices and violations of their human rights. They are a people of faith in God, whom He has promised to ‘care for and accompany’”.
In their letter, the bishops appealed for more compassion to be shown towards those on the journey. “As God always hears the cry of his people, the Churches do the same and we cry out for the weak and most vulnerable…..girls and boys, young people, women and men, victims of death threats, victims of unemployment, victims of irresponsible governments which are indifferent to the needs of their inhabitants“ and request authorities to recognise the migrants’ dignity and human rights and to identify options to legalise their transit and accommodation in the countries of destination, whether that be the US, Mexico or Canada.
They also call for programmes to be created to cater to the needs of migrants and those who request refuge and asylum – with support from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organisation for Migration.
These Archbishops and their Bishops have asked me and you “for solidarity with this tragedy”, saying: “We urge the unity of Christians to create a culture of hospitality, and call the governments of the Northern Triangle [of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras] to work to generate conditions for the development of human life in our countries”.
Scotland is a country that is known for its hospitality and concern for human rights. Over the years we have seen many of own people migrate across the seas to all corners of the earth. Today, migration remains an issue with which we continue to grapple. As Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, I call upon people in our churches to hold in prayer our most vulnerable brothers and sisters travelling with the Caravan, and for those involved in seeking a resolution to the difficulties that lie ahead. For those of us who are followers of Christ, we have a duty to remember those crying out for safe harbour and support, whether in the Americas or in Europe. In them, we see the Crucified Christ most clearly.