The Lutheran Church of Good Shepherd has been a pillar of the South West Brooklyn Council of Churches for many years. I attended council meetings even before I came to Good Shepherd and have been part of a sub-committee tasked with opening a Welcome Immigrant Center to provide services and advocacy for our neighbors and the strangers in our midst. Last Saturday we had our opening, and though we have no physical home yet, we are assessing the needs and adjusting the vision of the Sister Elizabeth Welcome Immigrant Center so that we can be a beacon of justice and a resource for our communities.
The event on Saturday was an Interfaith Forum on Immigration held at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. We had about one hundred people participating in the different workshops and our diverse community felt welcomed. We began by breaking bread and ate food from the Mexican, Chinese and Arab communities. Mary Campbell, the director of the National AMMPARO program from ELCA, imparted an overall sense of how our synods are organizing to protect the most vulnerable among us. The different workshops were geared to assess local needs as we listened to one another in respect and compassion.
I am grateful for the opportunity to shine a light on this seemingly overwhelming situation that has engulfed us and to see how many of us are hoping and willing to make a difference in our larger community as we build the vision of a beloved community here in the south west of Brooklyn.
Let´s keep on keep’n on,
Rev. Juan Carlos Ruiz