GOOD NEWS FROM MISSIONS

We all want to hear some good news, right? Well here goes:

Since I have come back from Austria (a three week visit with my brother), I have seen some amazing happenings within our own church, UCCA, and in the congregations of our friends.

First the newest news:  The Yasir family is coming for lunch after our worship service on Sunday, October 22. This is only two Sunday's away.

Please make an effort to greet them. They are very excited about visiting us and telling us about their life since we last saw them.                         

If you can bring some food please sign-up here: 

http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0444aeaf28a7f94-missions

1.  ACTION MEETING

On September 28th, we were part of a group of 15 plus churches who came together after many weeks of training and work, to be a part of our new (as yet nameless) organization's ACTION in Anne Arundel and Calvert Counties. We wanted to see if we could bring together enough "People Power" to be effective for, if and when we need to work with or against the "People in Power." 

We had hoped to reach our goal of 250 attendees - and we did that!! PLUS: we got 170 more than that - for a grand total of 420 people showing up on a Thursday evening for a group without a name. Those of you who attended this meeting will remember how well this "Action" was organized and built up to a better and better place as the evening went on! We got 100 plus people sign up to go to workshops to become Community Organizers and to help us build up the Action Group and its finances so that this group will be effective over the long haul! 

Pastor Ryan deserves a huge amount of credit for this! He was the one who persuaded all the pastors and imams of seventeen regional faith groups to become Community Organizing instruments in their congregations. He also helped gave encouragement to move forward. He has been instrumental in keeping us on track, getting us a teacher from IAF, taking us to an Action in other areas to show us how powerful this organizing can be or become. Then, he was more or less the main person for getting this Action group organized for September 28th's set up and working out!! Many thanks from all who were there, and to Ryan - We are blessed to have you be our pastor!!

Of course, we must not forget all the members of the churches, including ours, who gave so much time and effort to actually get it off the ground. Thank you, thank you, thank you ALL!! 

The best news for all who worked so hard to make this happen is that we got it right and that we showed that we can bring together a lot of people to do great work in our region. We are now officially an IAF group in this region!!

Still working on a name.... So far the most popular name is AACT: Anne Arundel Coming Together. But there still time to find the appropriate name. If you have any suggestions, please contact Ryan, Monica or Hildy.

2. Annapolis Immigration Justice Network

The Annapolis Sanctuary Network was renamed the Annapolis Immigration Justice Network to keep the churches who belong to the Network from having trouble because of the use of the word Sanctuary. The Network has been integrated into the Annapolis Immigration Justice Board and is now under the UCCA umbrella in the same way as our Cornerstone Ministry. We hope to keep working to help make this a successful endeavor under the leadership of Suzanne Martin and the members of various churches and organizations, who are now Board Members. Monica and Hildy are co-treasurers. Please help to support this work if you feel called to do so. We do need You!

3. Beach Side Picnic for Immigrant Children and Parents.

Saturday, October 7th, some of our newest members, Kathy McFadden and Lora and Jake Bleacher organized the best Beach Party I've ever been to! Our church invited the Yasir family and three other Immigrant families from South America to come for a fun afternoon at the Hillsmere beach. There were about 55 people - half children and half adults. We had great BBQ hamburgers and hot dogs, halal chicken for the Yasir family and ALL the fixings that go with a fun picnic.

All the kids including Yasir's youngest daughter, who is 2 1/2 years old had a blast with the Rope pull and the sack hop. Did you ever see a 2 1/2-year-old sack-hop about half a field length behind the other children, but very happily persistent? It was hilarious and she got a big hand for her efforts. She will grow up your best American Girl - not afraid of anything.... There was volleyball, a corn hole toss game and, of course, playing in the sand and water at the beach. Every child was wet and needed to change clothes before getting into the car to go home.

The best part was seeing everyone, children and adults, interacting, talking with each other, getting to know one another and building relationships and trust!

Thanks to all who put this Fun Beach Party together and all those who brought and cooked the hotdogs and hamburgers and brought games to make this such a fun event!! We are thinking about a party at Quiet Waters Skating Rink in January! Anyone ready for more fun??

Had enough good news? Please join us in further Missions work. We can use all the help you can give. Please call Hildy, (443) 603-8787.

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UPDATES ON REFUGEES AND SANCTUARY WORK

1.  UPDATE ON THE REFUGEE FAMILY

As you know, Yassir has a full-time job with the Coca-Cola Company on Riva Road. Anne E. was extremely helpful in getting him up-to-speed with applications in our country. He seems to be very happy with his job and grateful for his opportunity.

Their Green Card Applications are still in process and no news on them so far.

We just paid for their car insurance for the next full year ($1,026) and he asked me to tell everyone that his family is so grateful for the help we have given them, especially as he knows not every refugee family has been as lucky as they have been. I told him that we were glad to do it! He told me that his family would like to have another visit to our church so they can personally thank us.  

We have set the date for October 15th following the worship service.  We will have a potluck luncheon at this time with halal food (no pork or shellfish). Fruit, vegetable, couscous, rice dishes would be great.

Noor and the children are doing well and looking forward to the new school year. They were able to extend the lease on their home, so the kids are able to continue in the same school. 

2.  UPDATE ON GUILLERMO'S FAMILY            

(We have to be somewhat vague with this information for obvious safety reasons). Guillermo was flown by ICE to his home country in handcuffs (!) which made the flight safety announcements rather a joke...  He had to remain in hiding the whole time and after two weeks the gangs showed up demanding money or else. Our Annapolis network flew him to one of the islands for safety where he can remain for a few months. The Washington Lawyers Group in DC is helping Suzanne M. to see what can be done to help him either return to the US and apply for asylum, or to apply for asylum on the island or maybe Canada. He told us that all he wants is to be with his wife and the younger kids again.

Our Missions Committee is working on various ways we can do more for other undocumented folks in our area and have more of our people participate in this work. To start with: Monica has set up a Sign-In program for both Food and other needed items, as well as for helping to drive people to appointments with legal help, with ICE in Baltimore or the ICE detention center in Frederick. LOOK FOR LINKS ON MONICA'S UPDATE.

Tricia P. and I drove to Frederick to visit the ICE detention center and meet with Sheriff Jenkins and several of the guards in charge of the Undocumented Immigrants. We learned some interesting information provided by the Sheriff and his crew, and went on a tour of the jail. Unfortunately the ICE part was not allowed for us to visit. It was quite an eye opener to see the facilities and meet the people who run it for Montgomery County Jail part (not as I said the ICE part or ICE agents and guards, who are completely separated).

3.  UPDATE ON "ANNAPOLIS IMMIGRATION JUSTICE BOARD"

As you can see we have removed the word Sanctuary from the title of our group helping undocumented immigrants and their families to better describe the breadth of our ecumenical ministry. We are proposing setting up a formal ministry under the auspices of our church, but in partnership with other area churches. All other member churches affiliated will be under this umbrella. There will be a separate financial arrangement for this Board to keep better track of incoming funds, also under the umbrella of the UCCA. Monica W. and I will be Co-Treasurers. We are planning on creating a Board of 9 to 11 members from the various churches and groups involved. All of this will be done after our UCCA Council formally votes on approving this arrangement.

Our Missions Committee is working on various ways we can do more for other undocumented folks in our area and have more of our people participate in this work. To start with: Monica has set up a Sign-In program for both Food and other needed items,  as well as a list for helping to drive people to appointments for legal help with ICE in Baltimore or the ICE detention center in Frederick.

Tricia P. and I drove to Frederick to visit the ICE detention center and met with Sheriff Jenkins and several of the guards in charge of the Undocumented Immigrants. We learned some interesting information provided by the Sheriff and his crew, and went on a tour of the jail. Unfortunately we were not allowed to visit the ICE section. It was quite an eye opener to see the facilities and meet the people who run the jail for Montgomery County (The ICE detention has its own ICE agents and guards and is completely separate from the Montgomery County Jail.)

Thanks again for all your help for our neighbors in need of help in these very serious situations!! You have been marvelous !!

Hildy Cardaci, Missions Chair

Missions Report for Council Meeting (July 22, 2017)

1.  The Yasir Family:  

     Yasir has accepted a job with the Coca Cola Company on Riva Rd, Annapolis as a forklift driver. This is a full time job that will allow them to have reasonable income. ($15.00/hr) with health insurance. 

Their car insurance will need to be renewed, and we have the funds to do this again. The car also needs extensive repairs again and the Goodyear/Bay Area garage on Defense Highway did the needed repairs immediately for safety reasons for $847.00 which we were able to pay. It seems that maybe he should begin saving for a car down payment for a newer car. It still needs new shock absorbers because the tires are wearing very unevenly because the absorbers are shot. This will be another $1,500. If we have any money left when that time comes, we could maybe add some to help out.

2. Participation in the Sanctuary Movement of Annapolis

     Hildy, the Missions committee and several other members of our church and other groups, have been attending meetings with the Annapolis Sanctuary Movement to become familiar with the movement and the possible actions we, as a church community, would be able to undertake.

The Missions Committee held a meeting on May 31, 2017 atthe Hanauer's house to discuss the idea of making participation in the Sanctuary Movement our "Main Mission" this coming year. The group voted to pursue this and we discussed various ways of participation and the need to check into the legality of these actions, so that we, personally and as a church, would not have any serious adverse legal experiences.

I will have another meeting to go over the various items so we can begin to act on and at least research actions, to be ready in the fall with some actual help going toward our undocumented neighbors in need.

 

UPDATE ON GUILLERMO RAMIREZ

Update on Guillermo Ramirez:

As of Wednesday 2 pm, we know that Guillermo had been sent to Louisiana for deportation very soon to El Salvador.

Our own Tricia Pletcher made a personal visit to Senator Cardin's DC office and was able to recruit one of his assistants to get in touch with Suzanne of the Sanctuary of Annapolis Coalition for some more action. We are hoping ... and a great big THANK YOU to Tricia!! The woman is fearless :-)

Senator van Hollen's office also is working to help. 

Thank you all for making so many calls to the Senators' offices!! You are wonderful to assist our Missions Committee try to help Giullermo's family as much as you have. When you say you are calling for Giullermo, they say "Oh, we know about him ...."

We are now hoping for some good news for the family by helping his daughter Astrid pay the tuition at AACC to become a court translator ($1,200.00), and to finance a green card application ($1,100.00). Astrid now has "Asylum Status," which makes her a legal resident.  We all think a green card would make her status more permanent and secure.

We are asking all of you to help us reach this goal by making a donation, using the contribute button on the website or your Weekly Update, or of course by check (designated: "green card for Astrid" or "college for Astrid"). 

THANK YOU!!  Hildy Cardaci, Missions Chair

See What's Up Next For MISSIONS .....

Hello to all:

Guillermo Update:

As of Thursday, July 13, at 3 PM, Guillermo had been taken twice from the ICE detention center in Frederick to the Guatemalan Embassy, where he was to sign papers, which he did not do.  Then he was returned each time to the ICE detention center. We are not sure how effective our Senators Cardin and Van Hollen have been. We were told that they are in direct talks about Guillermo's case. Please keep praying for him so that he will be allowed to stay in the US and apply for asylum due to the violence in his home country.

Our Next Mission Project:   Sanctuary Work

The Missions Committee is working on the urgent need to perform Sanctuary help for our neighbors in need of such help. We are being careful to check out the legal ramifications of our actions and will only engage in actions that are safe for our church and congregation. We have been helping not only Guillermo and his family, but others by supporting the march, rally and vigil in Baltimore by helping to drive to the Baltimore ICE Field Office at Hopkins Plaza, paying for parking and application fees. Our Missions Committee is helping to organize meals for Guillermo's family and together with the Sanctuary Network of Annapolis meet other needs including diapers for the babies. 

The Annapolis Sanctuary Network Coalition is hoping to help pay for the college course ($1,200)  and green card application ($1,100) for Guillermo's daughter.  We are being the pass-thru bank at this moment for contributions from area churches including our own UCCA community and other individuals to gather enough funds to do this work.

The Missions Committee is asking you to make an effort to do what you so generously did for the Yasir family and help this effort.  Please use the "Contribute to Our Ministry" button at the bottom of the "What's Happening" Weekly newsletter to contribute! Your one-time or regular contributions would be welcome!

THANK YOU!!

Hildy Cardaci, Missions Chair

Update on Guillermo, July 7, 2017

I just received approval from Guillermo's daughter as well as his lawyer that the following paragraph can go public on facebook or whatever means within your church -- even nationwide if needed.  

Today has been a roller coaster ride for Guillermo's family. They received a phone call very early this morning from his cellmate who told them that Guillermo was taken away at 3am and was told that he was going to the Salvadoran Consulate. The family was left very upset and worried all day. A few minutes ago, Guillermo called and told them that he is back in Frederick and that ICE tried to get him to sign papers at the embassy to get himself deported but he flat out refused to sign them. They tried to tell him again that his lawyer has done nothing for him. They are pressuring him to get him out. He is standing strong so they were forced to return him back to Frederick. He knows what we did on Monday (the Baltimore march/rally) and is incredibly grateful to all of us and he also knows that his attorney filed for an Emergency Motion to Stay as well as the Appeal yesterday. Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers. 

Suzanne Martin

March/Rally on Behalf of Guillermo, Who Faces Deportation

Our church, UCC Synod participants, and the Sanctuary Network held a March/Rally with about 400 people attending to help free Guillermo from the ICE detention center in Frederick and bring him home to his family in Brooklyn, MD. Check out this Baltimore Sun link. 

Hundreds of people, including members of the Annapolis faith community, rallied in Downtown Baltimore Monday afternoon to support Guillermo Recinos Morales, a handyman, who lived in Brooklyn and worked in the Annapolis area. (Picture from the Baltimore Sun, Thursday, Jul. 6, 2017.)

Hundreds of people, including members of the Annapolis faith community, rallied in Downtown Baltimore Monday afternoon to support Guillermo Recinos Morales, a handyman, who lived in Brooklyn and worked in the Annapolis area. (Picture from the Baltimore Sun, Thursday, Jul. 6, 2017.)

Missions Report for Council Meeting

1.  The Yasir Family: 

      Yasir has accepted a job with the Coca Cola Company on Riva Rd, Annapolis as a forklift driver. This is a full time job that will allow them to have reasonable income. ($15.00/hr) with health insurance. 

Their car insurance will need to be renewed, and we have the funds to do this again. The car also needs extensive repairs again and the Goodyear/Bay Area garage on Defense Highway did the needed repairs immediately for safety reasons for $847.00 which we were able to pay. It seems that maybe he should begin saving for a car down payment for a newer car. It still needs new shock absorbers because the tires are wearing very unevenly because the absorbers are shot. This will be another $1,500. If we have any money left when that time comes, we could maybe add some to help out.

2. Participation in the Sanctuary Movement of Annapolis

     Hildy, the Missions committee, several other members of our church and other groups have been attending meetings with the Annapolis Sanctuary Movement to become familiar with the movement and the possible actions we, as a church community, would be able to undertake.

The Missions Committee held a meeting on May 31, 2017 atthe Hanauer's house to discuss the idea of making participation in the Sanctuary Movement our "Main Mission" this coming year. The group voted to pursue this and we discussed various ways of participation and the need to check into the legality of these actions, so that we, personally and as a church, would not have any serious adverse legal experiences.

I will have another meeting to go over the various items so we can begin to act on and at least research actions, to be ready in the fall with some actual help going toward our undocumented neighbors in need.

Missions Report for Council Meeting

1. Abed Family Refugee Support Fund:

Thank you all who have given to this Mission! You have been so generous!

We are now closing this fundraising for this mission because the family seems to be on its way to self-sufficiency. Any additional funds will be held in reserve and/or applied to other refugee support ministries in the area. Yassir is receiving a living wage as a forklift driver at the Coca-Cola plant in Annapolis. We have funds left in case of an emergency. We will pay their car insurance bill in July of about $1,020, which they of course have not been able to save for until now. 

2.  Driving Lessons for Noor:

Noor is still in urgent need of help with driving lessons. Yassir cannot give them to her because he does not have the required 3 years on his own US drivers license! If any of you want to help in this, please call Hildy Cardaci at (443) 603-8787!

3.  Missions - Sanctuary Work Missions Meeting: We will be having a Missions Meeting at the Hanauer house on Wednesday, May 31, at 7:30pm, to discuss becoming involved in the sanctuary network in Annapolis - one of the great needs in Annapolis and AA County at this time.  If you have any interest in this, please consider coming!

Please email Hildy Cardaci at hcardaci@gmail.com or call (443) 603-8787 with any other questions!

Abed family is financially secure! Now focusing on Sanctuary

Thanks to everyone who so generously contributed to the family of Yassir and Noor Abed! We have helped this family get established in U.S. You have blessed them with what you contributed in time, love, and financial help - they are so grateful. 

Thanks to all of you, especially Anne Eastman and her work in training Yassir for interviews that led to him securing a living wage job, they are now financially stable and independent and are no longer seeking financial support from us or First Presbyterian. 

The missions committee is now working on becoming involved in the sanctuary network in Annapolis and I would love it if you could help us in our work. Although we are not officially a "sanctuary" church, we are participating in a network to deliver assistance to families affecting by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) actions. Monica has written a fulsome account of what is being asked of us, which you can read here.

Much needed help of various ways will be presented and funds will be needed for these families who are our neighbors, friends - actually brothers and sisters of our Larger Family! We also welcome your feedback into what "sanctuary" means. 

THANK YOU!!

Hildy Cardaci, Missions Chair

 

Missions Report for the First Quarter of 2017 (Jan-Mar)

January:

Helped deliver furniture to Yassir

Met with Yassir to help with Green Card Paperwork

Attended Annapolis City Hall Action to support a Bill Proposal at City Council for Non-Discrimination against Unregistered Citizens – 100 + attended

February:

Helped to get UCC members to attended City Hall Action to support Passage of the above Bill – it passed –  200 + people attended

Helped to get UCC members to attended protest march at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis to support keeping the ACA Heath Care plan (organized by John’s Hopkins physicians)

IAF Meeting at Asbury Church

Held One-on-One meetings for IAF program

March:

Missions Meeting to discuss short and longer term actions for 2017

Helped Yassir with Visa Papers for Green Card, & coordinated with World Relief

IAF Meeting at Untied Universalist church

IAF Meeting at Asbury Church

Attended several Preparation Meetings at First Presbyterian Church on organizing a Town Hall Meeting with MD Senators & Representative.