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Letter from Amy: May 1, 2024


A mural from the Sagrada Familia migrant shelter in El Paso, photographed by our Border Encounter team last week

Dear Incarnation,


On Sunday, I read a pastoral letter from our bishop just before the Prayers of the People. If you were not there, you can read the bishop's letter here. We will also have printed copies available for the next few Sundays. The bishop's letter is about the investigation into past sexual abuse by another church in our diocese, The Falls Church Anglican, which I also wrote about in last week's letter.


After reading the letter on Sunday, David Gagnon led us in the Prayers of the People. I was so grateful for David's compassionate and strong prayers for all who have suffered sexual abuse, and was especially moved by his prayers for God to heal our sexual brokenness.


Sexual brokenness is part of our shared humanity. None of us experiences our sexuality in the fullness of goodness that God intended. Instead, our sexuality has been distorted by sin and entangled with shame, violence, alienation from our bodies, and dehumanization.


We all must learn to faithfully steward our sexuality in this context of brokenness. It's a lifelong work, but one for which we are empowered by the Spirit and accompanied by a Savior who shared every aspect of our humanity, including our sexuality. If you would like to talk, pray, or even confess with a priest about any issues of sexual brokenness, please reach out to me or Katie. We can also connect you to professional resources and trusted colleagues.


As promised on Sunday, below are a few resources regarding sexual abuse and sexual brokenness for adults and children:



***


I spent most of last week on the Texas-Mexico border with our Border Encounter team. We listened to presentations from legal advocates, social workers, theologians, nonprofit leaders, border patrol officers, and shelter directors. We visited migrant shelters on both sides of the border, where we folded laundry, played games, and shared stories across language divides. It was a powerful experience, one that I am still processing, and I am eager to share more of what we learned over the coming weeks.


But sexual abuse is also, sadly, a pervasive part of the migrant experience. And so I will close this week's letter with the prayer I prayed on Sunday; I invite you to join me in praying this prayer for all who have been harmed in our churches, families, communities, and along the border:


God of endless love, ever caring, ever strong, always present, always just: You gave your only Son to save us by his blood on the cross. Gentle Jesus, shepherd of peace, join to your own suffering the pain of all who have been hurt in body, mind, and spirit by those who betrayed the trust placed in them. Hear the cries of our brothers and sisters who have been gravely harmed, and the cries of those who love them. Soothe their restless hearts with hope, steady their shaken spirits with faith. Grant them justice for their cause, enlightened by your truth. Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts, heal your people's wounds and transform brokenness into wholeness. Grant us the courage and wisdom, humility and grace, to act with justice. Breathe wisdom into our prayers and labors. Grant that all harmed by abuse may find peace in justice. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.


With love,

Amy

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