De-ICEing Morton, MS

Posted: December 21, 2019 in Uncategorized

Back in November, NPR ran an update on Morton, Mississippi, and the effects of an ICE raid on the undocumented immigrants who worked in several chicken processing plants in the area. The results of the raid included not only the apprehension of some 680 migrant workers in the state (340 in Morton) but also the disruption of their families, the schools serving their children, and the housing and other services their wages paid for. 

Some of the workers have been released but they are not allowed to work in Mississippi and their ankle bracelets will not allow they to leave the state. Rents, utility bills, and other costs of living are piling up, putting families in dire straits.

 One church in town — 1st United Methodist of Morton — has taken on the job of aiding the families. First UMC is paying utility bills and other needs (to the tune of more than $120 thousand or more at last count) and now a needful Christmas is upon the community.

First Church Morton is soldiering on, all 90-plus members, doing what it can for the workers’ families. The church secretary (a Baptist who has worked at the church for almost 30 years) said the congregation is being led by a 

pastor, the Rev. Sheila Cumbest, with experience in the Katrina aftermath, a disaster that has prepared her for working in the current crisis.

I am moved by the work First Church is doing. I felt helpless after the ICE raid in Morristown (TN) last year, but the report from Morton made me look again for ways to make a difference. I contacted the bishop’s office for the Mississippi Annual Conference (former Holston Conference bishop James Swanson serves Mississippi now) and found that the conference has set up a secure way to donate to the families in Morton. So Emalie and I did.

I commend the work 1st UMC is carrying out in Morton. In doing due diligence, I spoke with James Mason in the bishop’s office and found that the annual conference has set up a secure and trusted way to donate. According to PayPal and the bishop’s office, every penny goes to the work in Morton. If you are so moved, I recommend it to you.

There are opportunities for giving closer home (we give to some of those, too), but for us this is a way we can play a small part in de-ICEing the hurt our own government has brought to too many families and children,

Merry Christmas to ALL! 

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