"The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God." --Leviticus 19:34 (NIV)
"...I was a stranger and you did not invite me in...Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." --Matthew 25:43,45 (NIV)
As people of faith, The United Methodist Church has a long history of welcoming and supporting immigrants and refugees. Our values are deeply rooted in our sacred texts and remind us to love our neighbor and welcome the sojourner among us. Our Social Principles and Book of Resolutions contain the official statements of our denomination. These statements are determined through the work and action of General Conference delegates from around the world. Bishops, General Agencies and Annual Conferences are charged with equipping congregations and members to implement the decisions of General Conference.
What Does the United Methodist Church Say About Immigration?
- 2016 Book of Discipline, ¶ 162.H -- "We oppose immigration policies that separate family members from each other or that include detention of families with children, and we call on local churches to be in ministry with immigrant families."
- 2016 Book of Resolutions #3281 -- Welcoming the Migrant to the US
- 2016 Book of Resolutions #6028 -- Global Migration and the Quest for Justice
- 2016 Book of Resolutions #3164 -- Dream Act
Family Separation and Asylum Restrictions
The news is full of pictures and stories of children being separated from their parents since the zero-tolerance enforcement policy was enacted by Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. Thousands of children have been removed, regardless of their age. This practice compounds the trauma of families fleeing pervasive and deadly violence in their home countries. Additionally, the Justice Department has overturned asylum protections for victims of domestic and gang violence. This is a shift from the practices of past administrations and will have severe repercussions for those fleeing extreme violence. (See 2016 Book of Discipline, ¶ 162.F for our social principle regarding violence against women.)
Called To Action!
Because United Methodists care about the "stranger in our midst"; believe in keeping families together; and believe in protecting survivors of violence, we are called to Act!
We are a people of prayer. Pray for the children and their parents escaping violence in their home countries. Pray for children and families who are separated at the border. Pray for compassionate wisdom as we enforce our laws and policies.
- Join the West Ohio Immigration Team. Learn how you can engage more deeply in your own community, build relatioships with immigrant and advocate for just policies. pastorscotthicks [at] gmail.com (subject: West%20Ohio%20Immigration%20Team) (Email Rev. Scott Hicks), a part time local pastor and full time immigration and refugee lawyer.
Advocate with Congressional Leaders
- To find your representative, go to this link.
- Call 202-224-3121; ask for your Representative by name; tailor your message by using the following talking points:
- Introduce yourself as a concerned constituent and a United Methodist.
- State your opposition to US troop deployment at the US-Mexico border. Also urge them to not support increases in funding for detention of families seeking aslyum and the separation of families. Separating children from their parents can create stressful, dangerous, and traumatic circumstances that cause lifelong damage to a person physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
- Many of the children and families who are being separated have come seeking asylum in the U.S., fleeing violence and political instability. These policies continue to traumatize children and families who have already fled dangerous situations in their homes and their communities.
Bible study based on the Psalms and stories highlighting the plight and of immigrants and refugees.
Hear the stories of 8 young Hondurans who are a part of exodus of migrants from the country.
Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate by Matthew Soerens & Jenny Hwang Yang
Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church and the Bible by M. Daniel Carroll R.
Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis by Stephen Bauman, Matthew Soerens & Dr. Issam Smeir
West Ohio local pastor Scott Hicks shares thoughts about why it is important for the Church to not only care about the immigrant, but why we are called into action of justice and mercy on their behalf.
- Study what the Bible says about Immigration
- Pray for all impacted and our leaders
- Follow the steps outlined on this webpage
- If you have any questions, please contact hickslawoffice [at] gmail.com (subject: West%20Ohio%20Immigration) (Rev. Scott Hicks), Part-Time Local Pastor and Immigration Lawyer orrhug [at] wocumc.org (subject: West%20Ohio%20Immigration) ( Rebecca Hug), Community Engagement Coordinator.