Lutherans gather in prayer for student pastor reportedly arrested by ICE

Religion News Service | 5/15/2019 | Staff
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CHICAGO (RNS) — Lutherans are speaking out and gathering in prayer after a student pastor at a church in Racine, Wis., reportedly was arrested last week by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Betty Rendón, who came to the United States from Colombia, was reportedly arrested by ICE on May 8 after her application for asylum was rejected. Rendón is a lay minister in the mainline Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, according to the denomination’s presiding bishop, the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton.

Husband - Daughter - DACA - Recipient - Cousin

She was detained along with her husband; her daughter, who is a DACA recipient; and a cousin who was staying with the family at their home in Chicago, according to an update on the Emaus ELCA Church website.

On Twitter, Eaton called for people to attend a prayer vigil Wednesday evening (May 15) for Rendón and others held at a detention center in nearby Kenosha, Wis. She also asked them to contact their representatives and senators.

Rev - Paul - Erickson - Bishop - ELCA

And the Rev. Paul Erickson, bishop of the ELCA’s Greater Milwaukee Synod, said the student pastor’s arrest may be “legal, but it is immoral.”

“I would certainly imagine that we have better ways to use our governmental resources than targeting a family who has, to my knowledge, been a blessing to every community that they’ve ever been a part of. We’ve got a broken system, and the sharp edges of that brokenness are now being felt by those who are most vulnerable among us,” Erickson said.

Rendón - Emaus - Months - Doctorate - Lutheran

Rendón has been preaching at Emaus for the past three months while studying for her doctorate at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, according to Erickson.

She fled Colombia when guerrillas attacked the school she directed there, according to the update about her arrest on Emaus’ website.

Application - Asylum - US - Report - Attack

Her application for asylum in the U.S. was rejected because there was no police report documenting the attack,...
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