Church of the Brethren Newsline
Feb. 19, 2010
A joint letter urging immigration reform has been signed by the leaders of Christian denominations that are part of the National Council of Churches (NCC) and Church World Service (CWS), including Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger.
“The issue of immigration reform is of urgent concern and this letter calls for action by our churches,” said Noffsinger.
NCC general secretary Michael Kinnamon wrote in a cover letter to the denominations that are taking part, “We have had broad support from the church leadership of the initiative of the National Council of Churches/Church World Service Taskforce on Immigration Reform. We are asking you to encourage your church members to participate.”
Quoting from Deuteronomy 10:19–“You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt”–the letter written on the eve of Lent calls for comprehensive immigration reform and builds on a resolution that was adopted by the 2008 General Assembly of the NCC and CWS. It claims immigration reform as a “patriotic act in the spirit of our nation’s best values and traditions.”
“Today, more than 12 million immigrants living in the United States find themselves without the hope of becoming citizens, reuniting with family members, or enjoying the legal protections that most of us take for granted,” the letter said. “Yet many of these people have lived and worked in our communities for years, becoming our friends and family, and often performing the daily tasks that enhance our quality of life. Unless there are major policy changes enacted by the US Congress, many of these people will continue to languish in the shadows and be subjected to abuse, discrimination, and hardships that are contrary to the Gospel values of love, unity, and the affirmation of the dignity of all people.”
Through this joint letter, the denominations that are a part of the NCC are taking a stand alongside the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the National Hispanic Leadership Conference in calling for comprehensive immigration reform.
A list of actions or witnesses that local congregations are requested to consider making in their own communities includes the hosting of a prayer vigil “or community event to pray for immigrants and call for immigration reform, inviting your members of Congress and local media to attend”; dedicating a sermon, Bible study, or Sunday school series to Christ’s teachings to welcome the stranger, love neighbors, and work for justice; contacting members of Congress, either individually or as a community group, to urge support for immigration reform; organizing members or representatives to attend the Ecumenical Advocacy Days on the subject of immigration, to take place in Washington, D.C., on March 19-22; and connecting to and utilizing resources related to each denomination’s efforts on immigration reform.
Resources for hosting a prayer vigil and other events and advocacy on immigration issues can be found at www.interfaithimmigration.org and www.ncccusa.org/immigration. Information about Ecumenical Advocacy Days can be found at http://advocacydays.org.
The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to receive Newsline by e-mail or to submit news to the editor. For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.