When ECMN was discerning the 9th Bishop of Minnesota, it was clear there was a strong desire to reclaim our deep missional roots. Breck, Whipple, Enmegahbowh, Sister Annette, and others were the early exemplars of those using their gifts – and inviting others to do likewise – to join in God’s mission of bringing forth the Beloved Community.
ECMN’s forbearers moved out into the communities and contexts they found themselves in to “give drink to the thirsty, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison, and welcome the stranger.”
From the beginning, Minnesotan Episcopalians have been on the side of the marginalized.
In our time and in our context, we have been called to continue to share our gifts to bring forth the Beloved Community. As our former Presiding Bishop Ed Browning proclaimed, “There will be no outcast!”
Today, Minnesotan Episcopalians join individuals of other faith traditions and many cultural backgrounds to give voice to the injustice of how “the stranger(s)” are being treated. WWWD? (What Would Whipple Do?) is raising concerns about how immigrants are being treated in Minnesota. In fact, the Federal Building where the immigration courts are located, where ICE raids and arrests are planned, and where immigrants are sorted for detention in Minnesota’s county jails, is named after the first Bishop of the Episcopal Church: the Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building.
Immigration is a complex issue. At the core of the WWWD campaign is the belief that the treatment of the immigrant population inside this federal building is completely inconsistent with the Gospel mandate to welcome the stranger, the long history of the Episcopal Church’s stance on refugee resettlement, and ECMN’s stance alongside those who are being marginalized. Requesting the removal of Bishop’s Whipple’s name from the building is one way to bring attention and voice to the presenting issue, which is the treatment of immigrants, specifically in Minnesota.
I am grateful for all those from ECMN who have worked tirelessly on the WWWD? campaign. Their passion to bring forth the Beloved Community by truly welcoming the stranger is commendable and inspiring. And as history has taught us, our missional work to bring forth the Beloved Community is life-long work.
Let us keep up the good and holy work: please continue to move out into your communities and contexts, especially to those places where people are being marginalized and treated as outcasts.