Posted on in Blog by The Rev. David Marshall
“Wherever you are in your spiritual journey, you are welcome here: in this place and at this table. There is food enough for all. Come and be fed.” With these words, I invite people to participate in Holy Communion at St. Dunstan’s Church each week. Sometimes I have added to the invitation. “Wherever you are in your spiritual journey, wherever you live, whatever the color of your skin, whomever you love, you are welcome here…”
A very similar invitation occurs every Tuesday evening at our Community Dinner. Everyone is welcome. Everyone is fed. You don’t have to be homeless. You don’t have to be able to pay. You don’t have to be Christian. We feed everyone who comes. Welcoming the stranger, the refugee and the immigrant (alien) are basic Christian values.
At St. Dunstan’s Church, we have made Christian hospitality a core value of our life together. We strive to be a safe and welcoming place for everyone, including those who are conservative and those who are liberal, those who are sure of their faith and those who are struggling, and especially those who have been marginalized or excluded.
On Saturday afternoon, my wife Alice and I watched the news about protests at JFK Airport in Brooklyn after President Trump issued an executive order banning travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations. This was alarming to me for several reasons. Closing our borders to refugees and visitors from Muslim nations sounds too much like earlier actions we have taken in this country that led to increased prejudice, scapegoating and violence. Two obvious examples were the turning away of shiploads of Jewish refugees during WWII and the internment of Japanese Americans.
So, when Alice and I heard that people were being detained and deported, and that as many as 13 people were being held at SEATAC airport, we felt that we had to act. We got on the light rail and went to join the protest at the airport. I saw several other ministers there and was glad I decided to wear my collar. One protester was a 10 year old girl with a sign that read, “Jesus was a refugee.” She had an American Girl Doll in her backpack (Josefina) and the doll was holding a tiny protest sign that read, “Immigrants, we get the job done.” The most inspiring moment for me was when the entire crowd, thousands of people, began chanting, “Let them in!”
I received an inspiring phone message on Sunday afternoon as well. One of our members took the flowers from the altar, and some of the bright yellow Mums that were in the entry, and delivered them to the Northgate Mosque. When she got there, she found that others had already left flowers and a sign that read, “We stand with our Muslim neighbors.”
Yours in Christ,