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South Carolina Evangelical Leaders Call for a Vote on Immigration Reform

Local Pastors to Fly to D.C., Meet with Members of Congress Next Week

GREENVILLE, S.C., APRIL 23, 2014 — Top South Carolina evangelical leaders held a press conference this morning to highlight the biblical call to welcome the stranger and urge Congress to move forward with a vote on immigration reform.

The press conference featured local pastors who discussed the moral imperatives for immigration reform, their efforts during the April congressional recess and their April 29 #Pray4Reform trip to Washington, D.C., when pastors from all six of the state’s Republican districts will meet with their members of Congress.

The following quotes are from pastors at today’s press conference:

Johnny Baker, Senior Pastor, Abundant Life Church, Greenville:
“I am the Pastor of one church with two congregations, one English-speaking and one Spanish-speaking. Our motto is ‘two congregations — one heart.’ I have become involved in immigration reform because of my relationship with hundreds of Spanish-speaking people. The message of Jesus says to ‘go into all the world and make disciples.’ That’s my call as a Pastor. I happen to pastor a church in the middle of a community with thousands of Hispanic people. That’s the mission field God has given me, and I want to be faithful in His service.”

Dr. Manuel Izquierdo, Senior pastor, Jesus El Rey Assemblies of God Church, Greenville:
“As Pastors we understand the immigration issue has moral and legal implications, both of which are clearly dealt with in the Scriptures. We are a nation of immigrants that historically has extended a hand to the less fortunate, and as a result we have seen God extend His grace over us. But America is a land of justice. The Lord teaches us about restitution when law has been broken. That why we stand for immigration reform that respects the rule of law though the application of fair financial retribution, while ensuring that the immigrant population does not unfairly become a taker of rather than a fair participant in the opportunities our nation.”

Jason Lee, Senior Pastor, Oak Grove Baptist Church, Spartanburg:
“I’m passionate about this issue because first the Bible speaks to how Christians should concern themselves with compassion for their neighbors and justice for the ‘stranger in our midst.’ But beyond just the biblical instructions and commands about how we should respond as Christians, we must remember there are approximately 12 million lives (undocumented immigrants) that are battling with this issue. It’s beyond just a compassion and justice issue now; we need comprehensive immigration reform to happen, and this will take courageous political action. So we are pleading with the House of Representatives to take action now.”

Pastor Carlos Ruiz, Senior Pastor, Iglesia Bautista Filadelfia, Taylors:
“I am involved in this because I think we need to do something for this situation, not only for the Latino community, but for immigrants from all nationalities. God tells us in the Scriptures that we show the love of Christ through our actions — and we have a moral, spiritual and economic problem that we need to address. My heart breaks when I see my congregants suffering under this unjust system. We have seen families separated by deportations in many cases, and the outcomes are devastating. Something must be done.”

Dale Sutton, Pastor, Overbrook Baptist Church, Greenville:
“I am a pragmatist. We have a national dilemma that needs a pragmatic fix. One of the major issues for Christ-followers is that political issues tend to be painted with broad strokes by those with vested interests or individuals on the opposite ends of the political spectrum. But we need to remember that real people, real families, innocent children are caught in the middle of the political debate. For too many years, we have talked about immigration, we have talked about our opponents in the immigration debate, but we have not solved the problem. Regardless of how we got here or who is to blame, this issue needs to be addressed. Immigration is a moral, economic, legal, social and spiritual mess. To solve this issue will require courage and leadership. I want to encourage our congressional delegation to fix this broken system.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform and #VoteOnReform.

Texas Evangelical Leaders Call for a Vote on Immigration Reform

Local Pastors Discuss Moral Imperatives for Reform, April 29 D.C. Event

**For a recording of today’s call click here.**

DALLAS, APRIL 22, 2014 — Top Texas evangelical leaders joined a telephonic press conference this morning to highlight the biblical call to welcome the stranger and urge Congress to move forward with a vote on immigration reform.

The telephonic press conference featured local Texas pastors discussing the moral imperatives for immigration reform, their efforts during the April congressional recess and their  April 29 #Pray4Reform trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with their members of Congress.

The following are quotes from pastors who were on today’s call:

Ademir Simoes Ferreria, Past President, U.S. Brazilian Baptist Association, Pflugerville:
“It is unfortunate that the Republican conference has talked more than it has actually done to address an outdated immigration system. It does require leadership and political maturity within its ranks to do the right thing for the country. Instead of running away in fear when they hear the word legalization, they need to come together on a bipartisan basis to better the future of millions who desire to help and share what will be a much brighter future.”

Dr. David Galvan, Senior Pastor, New Life Baptist Church, Dallas:
“This year the nation has seen a fundamental shift in our country’s support for reform. Most Americans support a path to citizenship. As Evangelical pastors we have organized the broadest and most diverse coalition of its kind to pray for and encourage action in the House. Congress is now hearing from the heart of our churches and the voices of our families and the cries of millions caught in the balance of the outcome of this debate. It is now time for a vote on immigration.”

Pastor Tim Moore, Texas Mobilizer, Evangelical Immigration Table; Senior Pastor, Walk Worthy Baptist Church, Austin:
‘There was a time not so long ago when we were a country of hope and promise for immigrants and their children. Their coming, however they could come, was persuasive evidence they were coming to improve their lot as well as the nation’s. We have sadly become a nation where few are welcomed and most are ridiculed or tolerated at best. America has lost her way on this issue. It’s time to renew our vision and draw a new map that will lead to a better and brighter and more hopeful future. It’s unconscionable for America to allow millions to swim invisible and hopeless between other American’s lives.  It’s time for immigration reform.”

Dr. Chuck Padilla, Church Planter, Baptist General Convention of Texas:
“We’re asking today for a better law. I have been able to minister to people that were deported and their children were left with neighbors. We need the immigrant here. We ask Congress to see what the nation needs and what’s best for the nation, that they might be able to help these people, because they are a blessing and a need that the nation has. We want Congress to give us a permanent solution.”

Daniel Sanchez, Professor of Missions, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth:
“We support a just and compassionate way forward for the millions of undocumented immigrants living peacefully and productively in our midst. We realize that it is not going to be helpful to think in terms of amnesty or even a special path, but that we need a tough but fair path for legalization with the opportunity for people eventually to apply for citizenship. We want to offer our support for the type of legislation that focuses on securing our borders and asking people to pay a fine. This will emphasize that we expect people to be law-abiding citizens. There is a great deal of suffering and uncertainty and quite a bit of confusion, and this is why we call on our legislators to move forward with a sense of urgency. But we also promise to help in any way that we can and be in prayer for Congress. All of us agree that these decisions need to be made.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform and #VoteOnReform.

Top Faith Leaders Urge Immigration Reform This Year

WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 15, 2014 — In the midst of a sustained push for immigration reform, a group of faith leaders from multiple denominations, including evangelicals and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, met with President Obama this morning to discuss the tragic human cost our current immigration system has on our nation’s families and communities.

With Congress home for the Easter recess, evangelical and faith communities nationwide are joining forces with businesses and law enforcement to hold dozens of pastors’ events in key districts. Following the recess, over 100 pastors will travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with members of the House of Representatives to urge immigration reform.


The following are quotes from participants in today’s meeting with the President:


Noel Castellanos
, CEO, Christian Community Development Association, Chicago:

“Today’s meeting with the President was a significant opportunity to meet during Holy Week and share the need to end the suffering of 11 million men, women and children who are caught in our nation’s broken immigration system. We discussed the urgency for House members to take action before the August recess for the sake of immigrant families and our nation. Let us continue to pray and impress this need on our legislators to act now.”


Dr. JoAnne Lyon
, General Superintendent, The Wesleyan Church:

“It is with a sense of urgency that we encourage the House to pass immigration reform in the next few months. Not only are families continuing to be disrupted but this is also about maintaining the rule of law in the United States which is a fundamental foundation of our society.”


Dr. Russell Moore, President, Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission:

“I disagree with the President on some serious issues of human life, marriage, and religious liberty, but this is one issue where the country isn’t divided up into red and blue. I don’t know anyone who thinks the status quo immigration policy is working. Our border isn’t secure, we don’t know who is and who isn’t in the country, and we have families torn apart by an incoherent and capricious system. I encouraged the President to work with Republicans to get beyond partisan bickering and fix this broken system.”


Dr. Suzii Paynter, Executive Coordinator, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Atlanta:

It’s time to retool our laws for immigration. We can meet as a country at the intersection of moral conscience and common sense and pass reform. Congress has the tools to act and, as people of conviction, people of faith are in agreement that common sense measures can be taken. There is a place to honor the God-given dignity of persons, honor the rule of law, ensure fairness to taxpayers, and seek a path towards recognition for immigrants.”

Evangelical Pastors: Deportations are Devastating to the Families We Serve

Pastors Share Personal Stories, Urge Congress to Vote on Reform

**For a recording of today’s call click here.**

WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 3, 2014 — On a press call today, evangelical pastors from Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan and New York told stories of their congregants’ separation and hardship due to immigration enforcement and deportations. Citing these unnecessary human costs, the pastors called on Congress to vote this year on immigration reform that strengthens families while reaffirming the rule of law.

The press call coincides with a 24-hour #Pray4Reform virtual Day of Prayer for Immigrant Families, and speakers also looked ahead to an April 29 #Pray4Reform fly-in as an opportunity to pray, meet with their members of Congress and push for a vote on reform in the House.

The following are quotes from speakers on today’s call:

Rev. Randy Buursma, Senior Pastor, First Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Mich.:
“Immigration reform must respond to mothers and fathers who live daily with the threat of deportation and separation from their families. Immigration reform will send a message as to the type of nation we are becoming. Will we be guided by the legacy of our own families who have experienced the gift citizenship or will we become a frightened and self-centered people who turn their backs on the needs of others?”

Dr. Kit Danley, President, Neighborhood Ministries, Phoenix:
“Arizona remains a punitive state both in prosecution and deportations of immigrants. This breaks our hearts as we stand alongside our families that are affected in our community, but it also leads us to action. We learned long ago that our silence indicts us, so we get involved. Today’s story of one of our families is devastating. Mom, in detention, has fourth-stage breast cancer and needs surgery to remove a cancerous lump. Her crime: She used a girlfriend’s ID to get a job at Kentucky Fried Chicken to feed her family. We know that one day, there will be immigration reform. Until then, there are terrific stories of pain and fear. May the church arise!”

Rev. Mike Langer, Pastor, Glen Ellyn Evangelical Covenant Church, Glen Ellyn, Ill.:
“We’re an affluent evangelical community and often work with our immigrant neighbors, but even with the visibility we have as a church, there’s still so much blindness to the immigrants in our community. Many are refugees, many are undocumented, but there’s still a need for the reminder of the presence of these immigrants in our midst. I have walked an undocumented congregant through the moral, the spiritual, the emotional processes of what his deportation would mean. That’s part of my job as a pastor: to walk people through the most painful and vulnerable times of their lives. And that’s one of the things that drive me to speak out and give a voice to the voiceless on this issue.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, Pastor, Lamb’s Church of the Nazarene, New York City; President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“As evangelicals, we feel a fierce urgency for calling the vote on immigration now. Our churches and our families are being adversely affected. These men and women, these clergy are committed to pastoring and telling these stories of separation to show why we need immigration reform so urgently. For us this is a moral issue, but this can only be solved by legislation. We are calling for congressional action this year to keep our families together and stop the suffering of so many families who want to contribute to our communities and our economy.”

Rev. Jose Vega, Senior Pastor, Renacer Iglesia Bautista (Renacer Baptist Church), Jacksonville, Fla.:
“Immigration is about people, it’s about family — kids, wives, husbands — who are being separated. That has been my experience in this process as a pastor. And the church is trying to do its best, but the system doesn’t really help us; sometimes it’s just hard for us to do our job as pastors. I just try to help. My request for Congress is to try to pass a law together that will help the people, the families, that are here, that are working hard, and just try to do the best for them and end their suffering.”

Jenny Yang, Vice President of Advocacy and Policy, World Relief:
“The high number of deportations underscores the moral urgency to fix our broken immigration system. Every day that we do not have immigration reform, it’s families, children and our communities that suffer the most. Evangelicals continue to pray and believe that Congress has an opportunity to address immigration reform this year. We hope they will transcend politics and pass immigration reform for the sake of our families, our communities and our country.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform.

Missouri Evangelical Leaders Discuss Biblical Response to Immigration

CLAYTON, Mo. MARCH 25, 2014 — Top Missouri faith leaders met today to discuss the moral imperatives for immigration reform as well as the biblical call to welcome the stranger among us and how our current immigration system affects the church.

At the event, local evangelical leaders considered this national and pastoral issue, as well as the Bible’s teachings regarding welcoming the stranger in our midst. They also shared how churches in St. Louis and across the country have been engaging with the immigrant community.

The following are quotes from speakers at today’s event:

Leopoldo A. Sánchez M., M.Div., Ph.D., Director of the Center for Hispanic Studies and Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Concordia Seminary:

“Concordia Seminary was founded by German immigrants who fled their country to practice their faith without fear of persecution. Proud of its immigrant roots, Concordia Seminary serves immigrants today. As part of its educational mission, the Center for Hispanic Studies at Concordia is committed to be a forum for the exchange of ideas on immigration reform that will take into account factors such as the humane enforcement of immigration laws, the unification of families torn apart by deportation, the contributions of Latinos and other immigrants to our churches and communities, and the church’s free exercise to do its religious work of Gospel proclamation and mercy among immigrants.”

Matthew Soerens, Field Director, Evangelical Immigration Table; U.S. Church Training Specialist, World Relief:   

“Immigration is an urgent issue that impacts churches here in Missouri and across the nation. As more evangelical Christians look to the Bible to see what God says about welcoming the strangers among us, more are speaking out. We need our legislators to act now on immigration reforms that are compassionate, sensible and respectful of the rule of law. As a nation we need commonsense reform that respects the God-given dignity of every person and benefits our country’s congregations and communities.”

Gregory R. Perry, Ph. D., Associate Professor of New Testament and Director of the City Ministry Initiative, Covenant Seminary:

“From its earliest pages, which originally addressed the refugees of the Exodus, to its final vision of intercultural worship before God’s throne, the Bible describes the experiences of immigrants and their families as formative for the identity of God’s people and their mission to all the families of the earth. When evangelical churches speak up for immigrant families and speak out for reforms in our immigration laws which will support the integrity of those families, we speak in concert with Scripture and our own history.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform.

Catholic, Evangelical Leaders Meet with Top Congressional Offices, Urge Action on Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 13, 2014 — Following their recent open letter to urge Congress to move forward on immigration reform, high-level evangelical and Catholic leaders have come together once again to meet with key Hill offices.

While in town Wednesday, Catholic bishops and evangelical leaders urged Congress to move forward on long overdue reform rooted in biblical principles. The national leaders’ visit included meetings with the offices of Speaker John Boehner (OH-08), Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Congressman Paul Ryan (WI-01) and Congressman Jason Chaffetz (UT-03).

The following are quotes from national evangelical and Catholic leaders on their meetings:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“There is broad consensus among evangelicals that our immigration system is deeply broken and not working for immigrant families, businesses or law enforcement communities. I am encouraged that the House continues to discuss immigration reform, and we will continue to urge them to bring immigration reform up for a vote.”

Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, Bishop of Seattle:
“As pastors, there is an urgency to this issue, as families are being separated daily. As a moral matter, Congress and the nation can no longer stand by as immigrant communities and families are being ripped apart.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“Wednesday’s meetings with House members were an unwavering sign of unity on immigration reform. I am proud to stand with evangelical leaders and Catholic bishops in our continued call for immigration reform. In terms of the close to 8 million Hispanic evangelicals, many of whom are social conservatives, we are very frustrated with the inertia on this issue. We should not sacrifice immigration reform at the altar of political expediency.”

Jim Wallis, President and Founder, Sojourners:
“It has become abundantly clear that immigration reform is the moral test of our politics right now. Evangelical and Catholic leaders from all over the country are uniting to remind our leaders of the names and faces of people and families who suffer most from this broken system. It’s time to transform politics as usual into commonsense policy solutions. Refusing to call a vote is a morally irresponsible decision to continue the massive suffering of the current system. A majority of Americans from all parties and diverse faith communities want to see this system fixed, and we call on our lawmakers to do what is responsible and bring commonsense immigration reform to a vote this year, not next.”

Bishop John Charles Wester, Salt Lake City:
“Reports of the demise of immigration reform are overblown. If we continue to push our message and mobilize our grassroots, there remains a chance for success this year. The Catholic-Evangelical coalition will help us reach that goal.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform.

###

The Evangelical Immigration Table is a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders advocating for immigration reform consistent with biblical values.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is the national public policy arm of the U.S. Catholic bishops.

Southern Baptists in Texas Embrace Immigration Reform

More than a Dozen Leaders Sign Principles During Evangelism Conference

HOUSTON, MARCH 3, 2014— Support for immigration reform among conservative religious leaders in Texas continues to grow. At last week’s Southern Baptists of Texas Evangelism Conference, 17 evangelical leaders expressed their support for the Evangelical Immigration Table’s Statement of Principles on immigration reform for the first time.

The 17 new pastors (full list below) include nationally prominent leaders Matt Chandler and Dr. Bart Barber.

The following are quotes from pastors who signed the principles last week:

Dr. Bart Barber, First Vice President, Southern Baptist Convention; Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Farmersville:
“Immigration policy is both a Great Commission and a Great Commandment issue. It’s a Great Commission issue because immigration brings to the doorsteps of our churches millions of lost people whom we would otherwise need to find in order to share the gospel with them. It’s a Great Commandment issue because loving our neighbors as ourselves puts the harsher rhetoric and plans for immigration reform straight off of the table for us. I’m thankful for the opportunity to state publicly my agreement with the principles of the Evangelical Immigration Table.”

Pastor Gilbert Chavez, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention:

“I think it’s important for Christians to be engaged in social issues, and immigration is one of them. Evangelical Christians should share grace with people who are coming here and find a way to reach them so that they can become productive citizens of our nation. I believe that Evangelical Christians should have a proper dialogue about this critical issue.”

Jim Holcombe, Evangelist, Jim Holcombe Ministries, Killeen:
“Republicans need to follow the Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform. Lawmakers also need to do what’s in the Constitution, and presidents of both parties simply haven’t enforced the law. It’s time for reform.”

The full list of new signatories:
· Dr. Bart Barber, First Vice President, Southern Baptist Convention; Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Farmersville
· Bill Britt, President, Compel Outreach; President, Conference of Texas Baptist Evangelists, Wylie
· Matt Chandler, Senior Pastor, The Village Church; President, Acts 29 Church Planting Network, Fort Worth
· Pastor Gilbert Chavez, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention
· Gary B. Clements, Pastor, Retama Park Baptist Church, Kingsville
· Jerry M. Clements, Pastor, Lane Prairie Baptist Church, Joshua
· Leonardo M. Diaz, Pastor, Primera Iglesia Bautista de Hitchcock, Texas City
· Cesar Gabriel, Pastor, lglesia Bautista Trinidad, Laredo
· Jim Holcombe, Evangelist, Jim Holcombe Ministries, Killeen
· Dr. Bill Jones, Executive Director, Neches River Baptist Association, Crockett
· Wayne Livingston, Senior Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Kaufman
· Eddie Marsh, President, Texas Baptist Home for Children, Dallas/Fort Worth
· Al Manigsaca, Pastor, Filipino Christian Fellowship, Austin
· Charles Massegee, President, Charles Massegee Evangelistic Service, Inc.; Past President, The Conference of Texas Baptist Evangelists, Nevada, Texas
· Jeff Murriel, Pastor, Rockwall Friendship Baptist Church, Rockwall
· Dr. Steven W. Smith, Vice President, Student Services and Communications, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
· Robert Welch, Senior Pastor, Rock Hills Baptist Church, Brownsboro

They join a growing list of conservative religious leaders in Texas who support immigration reform, including:

· Mark Bailey, President, Dallas Theological Seminary
· Dr. Tony Evans, Senior Pastor, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, Dallas
· Dr. David Fleming, Senior Pastor, Champion Forest Baptist Church, Houston
· Max Lucado, Teaching Pastor, Oak Hills Church, San Antonio
· Dr. Paige Patterson, President, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
· Bob Roberts, Senior Pastor, NorthWood Church, Keller
· Berten Waggoner, Former National Director, Vineyard USA

The Table’s principles call for immigration reform that “respects the God-given dignity of every person, protects the unity of the immediate family, respects the rule of law, guarantees secure national borders, ensures fairness to taxpayers, and establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents.” Last fall, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention adopted a resolution endorsing the principles.

Catholic, Evangelical Leaders Release Open Letter to Congress on Immigration Reform

**For a recording of today’s call click here.**

WASHINGTON, D.C., FEBRUARY 26, 2014 — In an unprecedented showing of unity on the issue, evangelical and Catholic leaders are joining together to send an open letter to members of Congress, underscoring the urgent need for commonsense immigration reform this year.

On a press call today, Catholic bishops and national evangelical leaders announced the release of the letter and urged Congress to move forward on long overdue reform rooted in biblical principles.

The following are quotes from national evangelical and Catholic leaders on today’s call:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“Every day of delay is a vote for keeping immigration exactly the way it is right now. Since everyone seems to agree that our current immigration system is broken then everyone should be voting for change.”

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y.:
“In this debate, often the humanitarian consequences of our broken system are ignored. Families are ripped apart, migrant workers are exploited, and human beings continue to die in the desert. This suffering must end.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“It’s a new day. Evangelicals and Catholic leaders join together in the spirit of the following proclamation: It is morally reprehensible and counter to the teachings of Christ to continue to sacrifice 11 million lives on the altar of political expediency. As Evangelicals, we join our Catholic brothers and sisters in affirming our conviction that this is the time to reconcile border security with the security of our values; values that include faith and family. For it takes conviction to speak truth, courage to do justice and spiritual fortitude to stand on the right side of history. Now is the time.”

Jim Wallis, President, Sojourners:
“When it comes to commonsense immigration reform, the Christian community strongly believes it is time to end the moral crisis created by our broken immigration system. We’re speaking with a unified voice today because all of us — Catholic and evangelical — believe immigration reform should not be a victim of our dysfunctional politics. In an era defined by partisanship, immigration reform should be the great exception, the great exemption, to politics as usual.”

Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, Archbishop of Miami:
“There is more at stake in this debate than the next election. The outcome will set the tone for the rest of the century. Either we can choose to turn away from our heritage and our track record of integrating immigrants, or we can embrace it and use it to our advantage.”

South Carolina Congressman Mulvaney Attends Latino Town Hall

Congressman Gathers for His First Town Hall Conducted Solely in Spanish

GAFFNEY, S.C., FEBRUARY 18, 2014 — During a Latino Town Hall Monday evening, Republican Congressman Mick Mulvaney (SC-05) heard from his constituents that immigration reform is urgent this year.

At the event, believed to be the first town hall conducted in Spanish by a South Carolina member of Congress, Mulvaney answered questions and spoke to our current immigration system and the prospects for reform in 2014.

The town hall was co-sponsored by Periódico Latino, the Greenville Hispanic Alliance, the Fellowship of Upstate Baptist Latino Pastors and the Evangelical Immigration Table.

The following are quotes from local South Carolina faith leaders at Monday’s event:

Pastor Gregorio Castillo, Hispanic Minister, United Baptist Church, Spartanburg:
“The most important thing for me is to see that there is a group of people in Washington willing to move forward on immigration reform. Maybe it’s not always what we want to see, but we are moving in the right direction. Thanks to Congressman Mulvaney for interacting with us in Spanish — it means so much to our community.”

Dr. Victor Prieto, Hispanic Ministries Consultant, Spartanburg County Baptist Network; Professor of Linguistics and Spanish, North Greenville University:
“The first town hall meeting ever with Hispanics in the Upstate of South Carolina was a success regarding the discussion on immigration. Congressman Mulvaney met with close to 150 Hispanics, which shows two important things: the decision of Hispanics to make their presence felt and their voice heard on issues like immigration reform, and the willingness of Republic leaders to talk about such issues. These two facts give us hope of a sound immigration reform sooner than later. This is not the time to get discouraged or rest!”

Rev. Derrick Smith, Senior Pastor, Kaleidoscope Multi-Ethnic Fellowship, Spartanburg:
“This was the first event I have ever seen where Hispanics in the South finally feel represented by their legislators. Beginning tonight and moving forward, I’m optimistic that the urgent need for immigration reform will get through to our representatives and that it will pass this year.”

Prominent Southern Baptist Faith Leader Embraces Immigration Reform

More Than 200 Evangelical Leaders Have Signed Principles for Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C., FEBRUARY 18, 2014 — Support for immigration reform continues to grow within the evangelical community. Most recently, Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a prominent Southern Baptist leader, signed on to the Evangelical Immigration Table’s Statement of Principles on immigration reform.

“We do not need Congress to act in order to support any party, but in order to take care of those whom God has put in our care,” Dr. Patterson said in a sermon last week at Nueva Vida Baptist Church in Dallas. “God is going to have to change some hearts … A great movement of God is needed and He could do it now.”

Patterson joins more than 200 prominent evangelical leaders who have endorsed the principles. Prominent signatories in the past year include:
•    Jason Allen, President, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
•    Tony Evans, Senior Pastor at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas
•    Luis Palau, Founder and CEO, Luis Palau Association
•    William Robinson, Interim President, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities

The Table’s principles call for immigration reform that “respects the God-given dignity of every person, protects the unity of the immediate family, respects the rule of law, guarantees secure national borders, ensures fairness to taxpayers, and establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents.”

In addition to the influential leaders who have signed on to the Table’s principles, the Evangelical Immigration Table has launched a successful #Pray4Reform campaign, mobilizing thousands of prayer partners across the nation. Op-eds from Table signatories have appeared in newspapers in 16 states and national outlets including FoxNews.com, Politico and the Christian Post.

The Evangelical Immigration Table is a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders advocating for immigration reform consistent with biblical values.

 

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