Here, Massachusetts alternate deputy Debbie Phillips reflects on her experiences at Sunday’s public witnesses on ending gun violence and reforming U.S. immigration policy:
“Sunday was an amazing day of witness and prayer for all God’s beloved here in Austin and beyond.
“The day began with a morning rally held by the Bishops United Against Gun Violence. I watched a little toddler peacefully playing in the grass next to me as one speaker after another spoke about the insanity of our gun culture. As I listened to the parents of Carmen Schentrup, a student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., who was killed by a school shooter, speak of their grief and struggle to prevent further violence, I prayed that the mother of this little one next to me would never have to experience their anguish. As I listened to a young girl talk about her experiences in Sandy Hook, I kept watching this precious one next to me and wondered, ‘When we will come to our senses about guns for her?’
“An hour later, we boarded buses. What started as a Facebook posting, by the Rev. Megan Castellan asking a question about detention centers a few weeks ago, turned into a highly organized, powerful witness at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center. More than 1,500 members of the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement traveled to Taylor, Tex., to let the asylum-seeking women detained there know that they are not forgotten, that they matter and that they are loved. As we sang to them, a woman waved something white out the window to us, letting us know they could hear our prayers. As Megan later reported, ‘the women were glued to the windows until the last bus left…[they] were crying, saying they weren’t alone after seeing so many people there.’
“It will take me some time to digest what we experienced today, but one thing is for sure: The Jesus Movement rolls on.”
Read more in Episcopal News Service’s report here. Thank you to deputies Bill Parnell and Billy Boyce for these photos from the witness at the detention center.