On September 17, 2013 members of the Alabama community gathered at Holy Trinity–Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral for the official release of the book, “Love Has No Borders: How Faith Leaders Resisted Alabama’s Harsh Immigration Law.” On hand for book signing were contributing authors to the book, including a number of United Methodists from North Alabama.
Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett offered an opening prayer for the event and congratulated the authors and advocates for the book. The prayer followed a time of reception and fellowship and began a program that including readings from the book. Bishop Wallace-Padgett is United Methodist Bishop of North Alabama Conference.
Edited by the Rev. Angie Wright, pastor of Beloved Community United Church of Christ and Associate Director of GBM, the book contains sermons, articles, blog posts, press releases and prayers written by a variety of faith leaders. United Methodist from North Alabama featured in the book include, Mr. Scott Douglas, Director of Greater Birmingham Ministry, Rev. R. G. Lyons, Rev. Matt Lacey, Rev. Russell Hestley, Mrs. Sarah Corson, co-founder of Servants in Faith and Technology, Rev. Richard L. Stryker, Rev. Stephanie Arnold, and Rev. Marcus Singleton.
Rev. Matt Lacey, “In the World, But Not of the World,” he writes, “I, for one, will break this law as it stands, and urge others to do the same. I will continue to greet, share with, and yes, even give rides to those who I know are in this country illegally. Why? We are called to remember the Good Samaritan, who was an immigrant in his society but still helped his neighbor in need.” (P. 59)
In Mrs. Corson’s letter to the editor in the
Randolph Leader, she raised the questions, “Have we stopped to ask why their [undocumented persons] native situation is so grim? Have we looked into their history to see why their countries are poor?” She goes on to say, “I am fully convinced that most Americans would be appalled to learn how shamefully exploitative the U.S. government’s relationships with the Banana Republics have actually been.” (P. 65-66)
“On a day when faith leaders from across the state came to Montgomery to oppose Alabama’s immigration law,” Rev. Hestley’s prayer for Senator Gerald Dial included these words, “Lord, give him the wisdom to see that this law is not of your wisdom but of human willfulness. Guide and uphold him in your perfect will….”(P. 61)
Rev. Stephanie Arnold prayed, “It is in the unity of loving our neighbor as ourselves that has brought us together, and it is in that spirit that we pray to you. God, for those who are most persecuted, help us offer refuge. To those most vulnerable, help us offer shelter. To those most in need, help us offer sustenance.”(P. 105)
Rev. Marcus Singleton challenged the congregation at St. Paul UMC with these words “Are American ideals only good on paper? The very symbol of the so called welcoming spirit of immigrations, the Statue of Liberty, has inscribed on it, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free….’ Yet we, both victims and victors of American immigration, have turned a blind eye on our brothers and sisters currently struggling and desiring to be free and walk through that golden door.” (P. 107)
Participants at the book release were encouraged to continue to pray for and work for immigration reform.
“Love Has No Borders” may be purchased for $20 at Greater Birmingham Ministries, Ethnic Ministries office of North Alabama Conference, or ordered online at www.gbm.org.