Open House for Rural & Migrant Ministry Center in Riverhead
Grace Church in Riverhead is undergoing an exciting transformation and is being developed as a Diocesan Mission Center. At the heart of this redevelopment is an organization that has had a longstanding relationship with our Diocese, Rural and Migrant Ministry (RMM). RMM is an organization that is dedicated to advancing the rights of farmworkers, seasonal migrant workers and rural communities in NY State. Through their farmworker education programs and advocacy campaigns like the Justice for Farmworkers campaign, they have made important strides towards raising awareness, influencing legislation and improving living conditions for these workers and their families.
Interestingly, until 2015, Long Island had the highest agricultural sales in NY State of any other county and Long Island agriculture today is unique because of its high value crops and relation to wealthy suburbs. Thousands of workers and their families who live here have been a historically invisible workforce. RMM will be working hard through the mission center to offer social services, pastoral care and human rights advocacy for this population.
In collaboration with clergy and lay volunteers of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island and other partners, RMM is currently providing leadership development programs, advocacy training and ally education. Much of this work is informed by a Worker Council (Concejo) consisting of local farmworkers and day laborers who are helping shape and inform the direction of this ministry.
On June 9, Rural and Migrant Ministry (RMM) welcomed partners, supporters, workers and allies to an Open House at the new ministry Center and over 75 people gathered for a multi-faith justice liturgy, dinner and a program which highlighted important work that has occurred and plans for future programs that are being developed. The gathering offered a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by farmworkers and welcomed participants to join in the ministry.
EMLI hopes to continue to bring you news and updates about the work happening at the Center and all are encouraged to visit and support this effort as may be possible.