ISAIAH’s Prophetic Resistance: July 29, 2017

ISAIAH’s Prophetic Resistance: July 29, 2017

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“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God… If we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us… God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” 

– excerpts from 1 John 4

If you have had young children or aged parents or a spouse of any age, you know that love is not just a feeling but an act of will, an abiding as John says.

The sickness of basing our policies on fear and scarcity is hurting our neighbors and is taking aim at our own lives. Fear of each other has created an immigration system that doesn’t reflect those who know God. The myth of scarcity of resources is the anti-love stance that is poised to take health care coverage from millions of people. What hurts one of us hurts all of us.

When our love is an act of will and an act of resistance to fear and scarcity politics, our light shines.

Victory for the People!

Millions of people will continue to have access to quality and affordable healthcare after the Senate was unable to pass any of their misguided, anti-love bills that would have partially repealed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and put millions of people’s lives in jeopardy. The calls you made, letters you wrote, conversations you held, stories you shared, and public actions you attended fed into the groundswell of a successful nationwide resistance. This victory belongs to you!

While the resistance movement has successfully blocked the many attempts to repeal or replace the ACA since January, there’s much more work that will be required of us in the coming days. The President continues to threaten to sabotage the ACA, placing the health of millions at risk. These actions will contribute to rising insurance premiums for all of us. Also, Congressional leaders are proposing a very immoral budget. A budget that contains $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid, privatization of Medicare, and cuts to food stamps, housing, Pell grants, education and more. All this so that the wealthy and corporations can get $5 trillion in tax breaks.

Today we celebrate — tomorrow we continue building our movement of prophetic resistance. Our faith demands it, and our lives depend on it.


Thanks to Phil Steger from Dorsey & Whitney LLP and St. Thomas More Catholic Church in St. Paul, a large group of lawyers were recruited and trained to help meet the legal needs of sanctuary congregations.

Minnesota Sanctuary Network

More than 45 congregations of faithful people in Minnesota have declared themselves sanctuary or sanctuary supporting congregations for vulnerable, scapegoated immigrants needing shelter and safety. This network continues to grow through amazing volunteer leadership.

This week nearly 200 lawyers attended a specialized training to be ready to assist those congregations and the legal needs that may arise. These folks are giving their time and their expertise as the congregations are giving their space and their hearts. Immigrants bring many gifts to our communities and our economy but one surprising blessing is this movement of risk and love is showing us our responsibilities to our brothers and sisters.


Melvin Siu

Our work to create a safe environment for undocumented workers has hit very close to home. 

Melvin Siu, an ISAIAH leader from Willmar, was picked up by ICE last week when he was at work. Most of the immigrants who work for Jenni-O are undocumented workers. The city knows it, ICE knows it and Jenni-O knows it. So why tear him away from his wife and young children? 

Melvin is from Guatemala and has been in the U.S for 16 years. Most of those years he has spent living and working in Willmar. He has four children and is the parent that would take and pick up his 7-year-old daughter from school every day.

Now Melvin’s wife doesn’t know how to tell her 7-year-old that her papa has been taken by ICE and is being held in a prison cell. She can’t bring herself to face that little girl. She knows that if Melvin isn’t released soon she will have to do it but is hoping to be able to avoid that conversation with a little girl who still believes the world cares for her family. 

Immigration told Melvin he had a deportation order for the 16 years he has been here, but Melvin was not aware of the order. It turns out it wasn’t even him they were looking for that day but someone who was using his name! Our immigration system is broken and capriciously destroying families.

Melvin has two close relatives that have been murdered recently in Guatemala and his family there has been threatened. He wants to apply for asylum because he fears for his life if he’s sent back.

Melvin and his wife ask for your prayers. His pastor has set up a benefit account because the Siu’s need help covering legal and immigration filing fees. Please send what you are able to:  Benefit Account of Melvin Siu, Bremer Bank, 500 Willmar Ave SE, Willmar, MN 56201.

Sanctuary Legal Clinic: Thurs, Aug 10, 6:30-8:30pm

Join us at this legal clinic where an attorney will walk us through the process of becoming a sanctuary congregation and answer our questions. Location: St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community, Hospitality Hall, 4537 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis.  RSVP required.


A Legacy of Love

This last spring, ISAIAH leader Margaret Bonsack passed away. While her death was expected, it is still an enormous loss to our organization. If you knew Margaret, you knew that she was on the “ISAIAH team.” If there was something to be done – phone calls to be made, people to be organized, events to be planned – she was game to do her share and more. For Margaret, this included time on the Board of Directors as ISAIAH’s treasurer.

Margaret was a monthly sustainer and in her last few years made several major gifts to ISAIAH. Her giving was not out of wealth but out of a sense of purpose and conviction. As a biologist at the University who was married to a St. Paul police officer, Margaret was not from the kind of “monied family” that we might think of as making large donations or of including nonprofits in their estate plans. 

But ISAIAH was Margaret’s path to having influence in the world for good. As her pastor, I can tell you she didn’t always agree with everything that every person or committee worked on in ISAIAH. But ISAIAH gave her a voice to advocate for her church and herself and the world. She once told me, “in teaching me to be a leader, ISAIAH gave me my life back when I thought it was gone.” 

Margaret planned ahead and designated ISAIAH as her beneficiary on both an investment and a retirement account. Her bequest will result in more people of faith being given the opportunity to be trained to work with others to create a more just and loving community.

I never had the chance to ask Margaret if she would want to be public about this final gift, but I know what she would have said… She would have said, “if it would encourage others to join me in leaving a legacy for ISAIAH, then do it!” 

So today, in Margaret’s name, we are launching the ISAIAH Legacy Society. Click the link to find out how easy it is for almost anyone to leave a bequest or a gift in your will to ISAIAH.

– Rev. Grant Stevensen

We have been called for such a time as this!

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