More than 100 people from several faiths assembled at the Christ Lutheran Church in Federal Hill and walked along the harbor, stopping at a central plaza for a brief service titled Welcoming the Stranger in Our Midst. It was a call to action by the leaders of Maryland’s faith communities to offer prayers on behalf of the tens of thousands of unaccompanied migrant children entering the U.S., some of whom are being fostered by families in Maryland.
Bishop Wolfgang D. Herz-Lane welcomed the group by thanking them for gathering “on behalf of immigrant children and people of all faiths” in order to give “visibility to this important issue.” A passage from Deuteronomy was read commanding, “You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” There was a short reading from the Quran and verses from Matthew that both spoke of caring for strangers and orphans and generally offering assistance to those in need.
“As we read today at the rally, we’re commanded to take care of the stranger because we ourselves were strangers in the land of Egypt,” said Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, who was in attendance. “During World War II, we had the Kindertransport, and there were people who took our children in, who were unaccompanied minors, who had to leave places of horror, and people took them in and loved them. Isn’t that what we have to do for these kids who have no hope and who live in violence? So it’s very much a Jewish issue.”
At the close of the service, Herz-Lane put a call out for families to take in more of the children, especially those who speak Spanish.
“No matter the religion, we look to one God and pray,” he said, “because people of faith are people of action.”