What Could We Have Done…? – Rev. Jhon Freddy Correa

Pastor Betty Rendon (ELCA) – in ICE custody since May 8, 2019.

Since the news of Pastor Betty Rendón’s arrest and detention by ICE agents last week, corners from all over the church – not just to the ELCA – have rallied to her cause. Sojourner’s Magazine wrote a feature, Prof. Leah Schade at Patheos has written pieces both the details of the arrest and ways to support Pastor Betty  and as well as a theological reflection on godly disobedience to secular law, Rev. Emily Heitzman has weighed in at RevBlogGalPals, Religion News Service, and the Chicago Sun Times just published a piece on Pastor Betty’s daughter – Paula Hincapie-Rendón – and the details of her illegal arrest at the hands of ICE. 

But today, we’re going to hear from Rev. Jhon Freddy Correa – from Colombia like Pastor Betty – who was the previous Latinx pastor at Emaus Lutheran Church before Pastor Betty.  Brief and powerful – he reflects on not only Pastor Betty’s plight, but reminds us of lack of community that makes this possible. Read, comment, share, and help us #FreePastorBetty.

Francisco Herrera, PhD student and Interim Editor

Emaus Lutheran Church – Racine, WI.

It could have been me, my family or yours.
A few words of accompaniment!
for Betty Elena Rendón Madrid

Normally I keep my Facebook profile on private so as to safeguard memories. But today I must change it from “private” to “public” in order to express my feelings, prayers and appreciation to the Latinx community, from Emaus Lutheran Church, Racine, Wisconsin, the ELCA and the USA.

What I have come to learn from Pastor Betty’s arrest and imprisonment, along with that of her family…

…that our commitment to one another must be constant, not only in moments of immense need.

I ask myself what the bishops and pastors now assembled on her behalf were able to do before the vigil last Thursday.

What Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton could have done before her tweet.


What could have been done by the community before mobilizing a crowd for a vigil where Pastor Betty was detained, which could have been coordinated by other community orgs before they even had Betty’s name as a slogan.

What could Betty have done and if the family had known what to expect before they were apprehended?

What could I have done before I wrote these questions and reflection?

And now, the most important question is…

What I am willing to do not only today, but tomorrow and the next day?

The Promise of the Gospel is that God is faithful, that God continues to invite us to fight for a community anchored in unconditional love, community fully committed to who we are. When we read “Don’t be afraid” in the Gospels, it is both a daily reminder that Jesus is with us in every day, as much as in our day-to-live as well as every time we open a Bible.

“I’m with you! I have defeated the world!”


So, I wonder:

What will it take to live every day as a “beloved community”?

…to change ourselves from “private” to “public” with our faith?

…from letters, photos, and slogans to actions?

…to create spaces so that others can live life fully and not end up in a prison, hospitals, deported, or disillusioned from an serving institutions?



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ONLINE DONATIONS: As expenses for Pastor Betty and her family mount, make a donation through – Emaus Lutheran Church, Racine. Simply click here, look for the line that says “Good Samaritan,” type “Pastor Betty” in the subject line, then click “continue.”

CHECK DONATIONS: write checks out to “Immanuel Lutheran Church” with “Rendón Family Fund” in memo line (or send cash) and mail to: Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1500 W. Elmdale Ave, Chicago, IL 60660

Sign the petition at Faithful America demanding the release of Betty Rendón and her family.

Mail cards of support to Pastor Rendón’s via…

Emaus Lutheran Church – 1925 Summit Ave, Racine, WI 53404

Phone(262) 634-5515

jhon freddJhon Freddy Correa is a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) student in the area of World Christianity and Mission at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. As a (Re) Developement pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and has been serving at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lehigh Acres FL since 2016, where he moved after serving at Emaus Lutheran Church in Racine, WI. Rev. Correa enjoys time at the beach, music, reading, and spending time with family. 

2 thoughts on “What Could We Have Done…? – Rev. Jhon Freddy Correa

  1. Mauricio Vieira

    “What I have come to learn from Pastor Betty’s arrest and imprisonment, along with that of her family… that our commitment to one another must be constant, not only in moments of immense need.”

    Thank you Pastor Correa, for truthful or powerful words.


  2. Tom O’Reilly

    Thank you Jhon Freddy. It is a privilege to know and serve with you. Your words were moving and I appreciate your vulnerability. God Bless you Brother. My prayers and support continue for Pastor Rendon and family. God hear our prayers.


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