Click here to listen to Bishop Felipe de Jesus Ruiz Aguilar
By Dr. Arthur McClanahan*
The Methodist Church in Mexico is committed to hope and according to Bishop Felipe de Jesus Ruiz “it’s more than a word of hope,” it’s an “action of hope.
“A national project is being initiated,” he said, “to accompany the routes of migrants.“ The “fundamental element,” he adds, is to “offer a place where they can communicate with family members who are left behind in their native countries.”
Some twenty Methodist Churches in Mexico are committed to becoming shelters along the five primary rail routes that bring “migrants who leave from Central America, through Northern Mexico, to the US,” the Bishop said. Speaking through an interpreter, Luis Velasquez, who worked at the Mi Familia Center in Canton, Georgia, and plans to “attend seminary to better serve others,” Bishop Ruiz noted that it’s important to migrants “that they can have aid as they move on through Mexico.”
Aid will include the “effort of helping so that family members can know where their fathers, their mothers are. And second, the family members back in the native country can know where the migrants are located in Mexico,” the Bishop explained. “The program will help us to give the migrant community a security and their family members as well.
Safety and security are important concerns. “There are anti-immigrant feelings, even in Mexico,” Bishop Ruiz revealed. “People are being kidnapped, and after being kidnapped the people who are doing this ask for ransom, they ask for money from the family members who are travelling through Mexico. They are taking advantage of this situation.”
During a morning session of the Global Migration Consultation, taking place in Freudenstadt, Germany, Rev. Franciso Canas, explained that twenty congregations will take part in supporting migrants in their journeys. The locations will even be indicated on an interactive map that will be easily accessed on the Internet, something detailed by Canas, who is the National Coordinator for the National Plan for Hispanic Latino Ministries.
The “action of hope” can extend beyond the congregations in Mexico. “We have made an open invitation for everyone to unite, to get together, to do this job together,” Bishop Ruiz noted. Addressing the nearly 40 participants of the Global Migration Consultation, he said, “Today, the calling, the invitation that I’ve made is for more than the project that is being created in Mexico. It’s also for others in all Europe and Mexico.
Will the collaboration in Mexico, and beyond, make a difference? “I believe [in] the action of hope with all my heart, that we can do it together,” Bishop Ruiz concluded.
*Rev. Dr. Arthur McClanahan is the Director of Communications for the Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church.