June 12, 2018

Dear LABC,

This Sunday I will have the honor of sharing a Sacred Conversation with Pastor Brian Byamukama. Brian is residing in Oakland as he seeks political asylum in the United States. He found our church through the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, a small but active organization of churches committed to the full inclusion of LGBT persons in the life of our congregations. Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church is a charter member of this association.

In Uganda, as the founding pastor of Bethany Baptist Church in Mbale, as the founder of the Rural Movement Initiative and as a rural based human rights defender, Brian has advocated for the place of LGBT persons in the church and in society even as he has cared for orphans and extended a welcome in his congregation to other persons, like commercial sex workers, who are excluded from most churches and faith communities. For his courageous and caring commitment to inclusion and justice, a commitment which often has no legal protection in Uganda, he and his family have suffered. He has been threatened with violence as has his family. On two occasions, October 17, 2017 and February 2, 2018, he was physically attacked suffering bodily injury requiring hospitalization.

These are some of the topics we will discuss:

  1. Tell us about yourself and your family.
  2. You are in the United States to escape persecution and seek asylum. Why were you persecuted in your home country?
  3. It must be very hard to be separated from your family. Tell us what that is like.
  4. How can Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church best stand with you?

It must be noted that Brian is applying for asylum at a time when many of the policies of the United States Department of Justice, which is entrusted with hearing requests for asylum, are unjust, immoral and unethical. I would point to the practice of separating children from their parents when families are detained and the announcement that domestic violence will no longer be a valid reason for granting asylum.  In this light both diligent effort for reform and prayers for all involved are much needed.

Prayers continue for the Edmondson family (death of Alice) and the Bowman/Hadley family (death of Eva’s mom) as they grieve.

Jim H.

Prayers of the Congregation

Our graduates and promotees and their families, Dayle Scott (health), Brian Byamukuma (awaiting results of asylum hearing), Thanksgiving that Jesse Lucas was back in church, Marie Johnson for her mom, herself and her family, Gloria Meads for Alfonso, All immigrants, migrants, refugees and displaced persons, Alean Saunders-Coffey for her brother and sister, Ann Fields for her family, Peggy Rogers-Tamayo for her family, Sheila Sims for her mom, Mary Karne for Maryla, Amber and Aries Broadnax for their children, All who are traveling, All who are grieving, Pastor Rick Mixon and the congregation of FBC Palo Alto, The meeting between the leaders of North Korea and the United States, All who live with depression and anxiety, Carol Leichter (recuperating), Bruce Quan (health), Evan Wilkinson (recuperating)

An Invitation From the SF Kachin Baptist Church

“You and your church are cordially invited to 2018s Kachin Refugee and Church Fundraising Event hosted by our San Francisco Kachin Baptist Church on the 23rd of June from 11 AM to 3 PM @ Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church (Barnett Hall), 3534 Lakeshore Avenue, Oakland, CA. Unfortunately, the civil war started in 2011 in the Kachin land is still going on unabated, lasting over 7 years. The continued displacement of the people in the Kachin state and its consequent dire humanitarian needs are growing and your prayers and support are indeed needed and requested.

We will have many traditional Kachin/Burmese dishes prepared by our talented women’s group, and listen to current updates of the Kachin situation during the event.

Announcements

Congratulations to the Golden State Warriors on winning the 2018 NBA Championship.

Congratulations to Channing Nesbitt and the University of Washington baseball team on earning a spot in the 2018 College World Series.

From Dr. Ben Bartlett, son of David and Carol Bartlett and an expert in the politics of the Far East,  on the meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un:

NK Summit, the short version: we got squat, and now Trump is promising to give up military exercises with South Korea in exchange for essentially nothing. Possibly just because he hates alliances.

Overall rating: better than nuclear war, but wasn’t worth the summit.

Biggest winner: China

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