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Indonesians in Sanctuary fight for their Freedom

December 2, 2012

Praying and Singing to
Keep Indonesian Families Together
A Night of food, speeches, song & prayer

When: Tuesday December 4th 2012, 7pm – 10pm

Where: Reformed Church of Highland Park, Highland Park NJ:


Dear Friends Who Support Our Indonesian Brothers In Sanctuary, Their Families, and All Indonesians with Unresolved Immigration Committee,

The last time we planned an event to push for the freedom of our Indonesian brothers in Sanctuary was the day after Hurricane Sandy, and a week before the re-election of the President.  We had planned to be fairly critical of President Obama and of ICE for their refusal to assist us with our dilemma. We had every reason to feel that way, as this community that we love and have walked with has suffered so greatly.  However, maybe it was fortuitous that our efforts were delayed.  It seems that the tide is turning (maybe for real this time) and that immigration reform is suddenly a thing of real possibility. Republican Senators and House members who have never spoken openly in support of immigration reform are coming out of the woodwork.

However, until things are resolved, we cannot let up highlighting the fact that for 270 days we have had to offer Sanctuary to numerous people, including the Dads of 7 U.S. Citizen Children, in order to keep our government from deporting them to the country they left in fear in the late 90’s.  We have engaged in a rather extreme form of Non-Violent Resistance-Sanctuary-because we have felt the government left us with no other choice.

We cannot let up in our insistence that these Indonesian immigrants and families be shown the same mercy now that the Obama Administration showed them in 2009, when it stopped deporting Indonesians in New Jersey (and in a couple of other states) and instead offered Orders of Supervision.

On December 4th , at 7pm, we will have an event called:

Praying and Singing to
Keep Indonesian Families Together
A Night of food, speeches, song & prayer

We are hoping to get a huge turnout from the community that has rallied, called, visited and stood up for these friends in such dramatic ways since we started our efforts with a vigil 1 year ago this week.

We are inviting guests from political offices, faith leaders and the media.  We hope to show all of them how serious we are that these individuals be shown mercy.

Also, we will use the event on December 4th to begin connecting the struggle of the Indonesian community to the larger struggle of immigrants across this nation (to keep families together, stand by US citizen children).  Our story is unique, and we will continue to highlight its uniqueness, but there may be ways for us to more fully add our voices to the groundswell of voices pushing for comprehensive immigration reform as well.

Please come and join us.  We will make sure that you leave thankful, inspired and ready to reengage in this work until justice and peace embrace!

Below is an email I recently sent to Indonesians who benefited from the Orders of Supervision Program that we set up with ICE during happier times…I encourage you to consider some of the ‘asks’ I make to them in order to help us continue this effort.

Peace, Pastor Seth

Dear Indonesian Community That Participated in the Orders of Supervision Program,

I am writing to you today to touch base.  It’s been many months since we were all together in one place.  I would like for you to consider, for a moment, the situation we were in 1 year ago.  1 year ago most of you had been told to bring tickets to your December report date and self-deport.  After meeting and praying and communicating with Washington and with the local office, many of you were able to resolve your situations.  For that we say PRAISE GOD!  47 of you were given Stays of Removal without too much trouble…and another 5 or so have received them in recent months.

There are others, however, who were not so fortunate.  The system is very broken still.  15 of the 76 people who met with us last December 1st for our 24 Hour Vigil have been deported or self-deported out of fear of being detained.

And then, there are 9 or so who are either in SANCTUARY or are living in the community in fear of being picked up each and every day.  The Reformed Church of Highland Park has stuck by these 9 tirelessly, providing housing, providing financial support as best we can and by tirelessly advocating for them and for ALL OF YOU.

Until Immigration Reformed passes all of you who do not have Green Cards are benefiting from total advocacy on our part, and you are benefiting from the Leadership of those in Sanctuary.

I want to ask two things from you today.

1)      Please come to a 7pm-10pm Advent Prayer and Celebration About Keeping Families Together on Tuesday Night, December 4th.  Please come ready to SING.  We want to hear songs of God’s love and protection and deliverance!

2)      Please send a financial contribution (if able) to the Reformed Church of Highland Park Immigration Fund.  For those who are living in Sanctuary, many are still paying rent, paying mortgages and trying to afford the things that their children need.  For those who have been fortunate enough to work this year, please consider giving to the Immigration Fund.  EVERY PENNY YOU GIVE WILL GO DIRECTLY TO THE FAMILIES WHO ARE COMMITTED TO SANCTUARY, SO THAT THEY CAN CONTINUE TO TAKE THE LEAD IN STRUGGLING FOR GOD’S LOVE AND PEACE TO REIGN IN THIS SITUATION.  Your donations are tax exempt, as they are part of our mission offering.

Grace to you and peace this Advent.  Please remember our efforts on your behalf, and especially remember our brothers in Sanctuary, and their families.

Please call me if you have any questions.  732-882-3193

Pastor Seth

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