When: Tuesday, June 30th, at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1070 S. Foothill Drive
More information: 801-582-2321
I plan to go.
Comment from Pastor Steve Klemz's press release:
A Service of LamentHere's the article from the Salt Lake Tribune:
On the eve of the implementation of SB81, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church hosts an interfaith service of lament. SB81, an omnibus anti-immigration bill, is symptomatic of a broken community and serves as a call to prayer among people of faith. Public lament is a way people of faith confess their trust in God above all else, especially as this bill further creates a climate of fear and diminish the fullness of life in Utah.
Utah faith leaders unite to lament SB81
By Peggy Fletcher Stack
The Rev. Steve Klemz felt an overwhelming sadness at the passage of Utah's new immigration law, SB81, due to take effect Wednesday.
He mourned for all Utahns who live in the shadows, he said, without documents for themselves or a loved one. He agonized for those whose families will be severed by the law.
Klemz, pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Salt Lake City, sought solace in his faith, where he found numerous biblical passages that lament the world's injustice.
He then organized an interfaith service, scheduled for the eve before the bill is implemented, where people from every faith can read passages from the Psalms and other Bible verses. Catholic, Episcopal and Muslim leaders already have accepted his invitation.
"The bill is symptomatic of a broken community and serves as a call to prayer among people of faith," he said. "Public lament is a way people of faith confess their trust in God above all else, especially as this bill further creates a climate of fear and diminishes the fullness of life in Utah."
For Klemz, immigration is a moral issue -- and a personal one.
In 2002, he married Norma Gonzalez, who had come to the United States from Mexico to care for her ailing father and stayed -- without permission.
He joined her in the bureaucratic black hole that was her effort to become a legal resident. The couple prepared a petition to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, now part of Homeland Security. The federal government wanted to know if theirs was a marriage of convenience or a real union. They assembled scores of photos showing their family life and hundreds of letters from friends attesting to the genuineness of their marriage.
Finally, last November, supporters filled the immigration courtroom as the couple faced their future.
"They put us on administrative hold and encouraged us to go to Juarez [Mexico] and get Norma a visa," Klemz said, "but they are not actively pursuing us."
Though not conclusive, it was a relief.
"You have no idea how good it feels not to have a court date hanging over our heads as we did for five years," he said. "Now we are basically waiting and praying for immigration reform."