“The greatest religious problem today is how to be both a mystic and a militant; in other words how to combine the search for an expansion of inner awareness with effective social action, and how to feel one's true identity in both” Ursula K. LeGuin

Friday, November 21, 2014

Immigration, 130 Years Ago

With immigration issues being in the forefront of today's news, the United Methodist News Service has shared this story of what Methodist women did in 1915 to welcome strangers at Ellis Island.

Alma Mathews
"Beginning around 1885, the Women's Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church in New York City (predecessor of today's United Methodist Women) identified a serious problem. Immigrant women, often traveling alone or with children in tow, arrived on American shores to join their husbands, brothers, fathers or other relatives who had come to the U.S. ahead of them. 
"Alone, they had to navigate the challenges and complexities of the immigration system and the dangerous docks of New York.  Alone — except for Helen Mathews; her husband, James; their daughter, Alma, and another person who found a small house to rent in lower Manhattan where they began a new ministry. 
"Two managed the house while the other two combed the docks seeking single women disembarking the ships. Without regard to language barriers or concerns for their own safety, they approached these women and their families and guided them through the immigration process. They offered them free lodging at the house — now called the Immigrant Girls’ Home. They helped them on the next stage of their journey, getting them to the train station or helping them to connect with family in New York or beyond...."
Read more here

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