· Ministry with the Poor

‘We’re going to stop this madness,’ says bishop

NASHVILLE, Tenn.––Mississippi Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. reviewed the August 7 actions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who arrested 680 workers at food processing plants in Jackson, Miss.

The president of the General Commission on United Methodist Men told the 20-member governing board that the workers have been in the area for 20 years or more and their children are all U.S. citizens. There was no reason for the surprise action.

Noting that the arrests left many children without parents to welcome them home after their second day of school, the bishop said, “We’re going to stop this madness. We have to stop talking about Jesus and be Jesus.”

Shortly after the arrest of workers, the bishop wrote church leaders in the state.

“I’m not concerned with your personal political stances and thoughts on implications related to U.S. immigration, but I am concerned about the well-being and stability of families,” he wrote. He invited them to support efforts to care for the children by the Methodist Children’s Home and other church members.

“This was eye-opening for the people of Mississippi,” said Swanson. “People are learning the truth, parents are forced to wear GPS ankle bracelets, and some landlords raised the worker’s rent by $150 a month.”

The bishop says he is gratified by the response of church members and others around the state along with cooperation and partnership with Episcopalians, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, and Baptists.       


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