Mission and Outreach Update
During the Congregational retreat, a question was asked regarding the Austin Sanctuary Network and our participation in it. More specifically, why did we join and what are our commitments? Good questions, both: There are only two thing we committed to do as an Affirming Organization: (1) TRY to attend meetings and (2) have our name listed as an affirming member. (The other category of membership is as an Active Organization.) We have no financial obligation and we have not expended any funds.
Why did we choose to join? ASN’s primary activity, from our perspective, is to have asylum seekers coming to this country, treated as Christ would want them treated. Such treatment should be the same for all, be they citizens, refugees or immigrants. We believe that is an important goal and want to support it. (Though ASN mission is broader this is the reason we choose to lend our support) Secondly, joining, afforded us an opportunity to learn more about important issues going on in our Austin community, while providing us the opportunity to meet people who might be of help in other of our outreach ministries.
Indeed, this latter point turned out to be even more valuable than we expected. Through ASN, we became part of their mailing list and also part of the Raices Mailing list. From the latter, we learned of a Free Naturalization clinic that was to be put on by Raices (more about that clinic another time). Four of us volunteered our time for that clinic. While there we met Selma Bora of the Mexican Consulate. We invited Selma to participate with us on our Saturday lunch program. She not only accepted our invitation, but also volunteered to assist us in our Central Texas Food Distribution ministry. In one Saturday afternoon, she was able to expand the distribution program from about 11 needy families to 20, and we have little doubt that with a little more time she will get our number to 30 families—a goal Scott had set for this program to help ensure that the food bank continues food delivery to this area.
No, we had no idea when we joined ASN, that this would be a result, though we did and do believe that by exposing us to these opportunities, the Holy Spirit will continue to work in our lives, enabling us to help fulfill the goal of our outreach ministries.
In yet another opportunity that ASN afforded us, one of our members, Peggy, become an Amiga (friend) to four detainees at the Hutto detention center. Again, a clear way to help those who are hurting. These expanding opportunities provide many opportunities for members and friends of PCLT to get involved and help us to do God’s work.