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Category Archive for: "Statements and Press Releases"

Evangelical Leaders Announce Letter Pressing House Leadership for Action

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

WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 12, 2014 — National and local evangelical leaders joined a press call today to announce the release of a letter to House leadership.

In the letter, the Evangelical Immigration Table urges Congress to move forward with votes on broad immigration reform this summer — in spite of Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary defeat.

Today also marks the two-year anniversary of the Table’s launch. With the letter and other efforts this summer, leaders are telling Congress that it’s time to decide whether and how immigration reform rooted in biblical values will move forward.

The call comes amid more than 800 nationwide screenings of The Stranger, which highlights the stories of three families caught in our broken immigration system.

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

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“The overdue reform of our nation’s immigration laws should not depend on a limited number of one-party voters in one district of one state on one day. Let’s ask all of Congress to vote for all of America. If now is not the right time for immigration reform, when is?  Is Congress waiting for 2020, 2040, or would 2014 be best for America?”

James Heyward, Pastor, Calvary Church of the Nazarene, Annandale, Va.; resident of Majority Leader Cantor’s district:
“I’m here to say that the time to act is now. I live in a community where we see the effects of bad immigration policy all the time. I believe this is our opportunity to put this before Congress, put this up for a vote and pass commonsense reform this summer. I think this is not a political ball we play with. This is about people, and as evangelicals we care about people. I’m excited about the political opportunity I think we have.

“As a person who lives in Cantor’s district, we were not as surprised by the results of the primary. We felt that his not connecting on this particular issue and going back and forth on it hurt him. People like Lindsey Graham who clearly stood for immigration reform handily won their primaries.”

Bill Robinson, Interim President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities; President Emeritus, Whitworth University, Spokane, Wash., in Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers’ district:
“As an association of Christian higher education institutions, our colleges and universities are caught in the middle of our broken immigration system. Thousands of high school graduates who are otherwise qualified, and are often some of the most driven and motivated students, can’t afford to go to college because of their legal status, even though they were brought to the United States through no fault of their own. Our institutions are doing everything they can to make it possible for these students to go to college, but we can’t do it alone. We need Congress to act and fix our broken immigration system to help these students and their families, our colleges and universities, and our country.”

Monserrate Salas, Pastor, Iglesia Hispana Emmanuel/Emmanuel Hispanic Church, Springfield, Ohio, in Speaker Boehner’s District:
“This is not about politics, it’s about people. As Christians, we are called to love people, to help people. My husband and I pastor a church that is Hispanic and 85 percent immigrant, and it’s sad to see families torn apart, parents whisked away, leaving children abandoned and not knowing when or if their parents are coming back. People come here for work, to better their lives and those of their family. They come to pursue the American dream. We need reform and we need it now.”

Tony Suarez, Vice President of Chapters, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“While members of the House have mulled over what direction to take in passing immigration reform these past years, the NHCLC and our president, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, provided a covering of prayer and support. It appears that some in leadership do not comprehend the urgency of the moment. Rev. Rodriguez has said, ‘It takes faith to move mountains, conviction to speak truth, courage to do justice and love to change the world. Immigration reform will require all of the above.’ Due to the urgency of the moment and the lack of progress in the House of Representatives, we announced this week that we call on Hispanic Evangelicals not to support candidates that do not support commonsense immigration reform.”

Jenny Yang, Vice President of Advocacy and Policy, World Relief:
“The politics of passing immigration reform may have changed this past week, but the moral urgency of passing reform has not. Principled stances on immigration reform are what the American people, including many evangelicals, want from their elected officials. It’s time for the House of Representatives to do their job and for House leadership to make a decision on whether to move forward with immigration this summer or not. If they do move forward, they will see support from many in the evangelical community who are dealing with the consequences of broken families within a broken system every day.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform.

Documentary Explores Biblical Response to Immigration

‘The Stranger’ to Premiere in Tampa and Orlando Tonight

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

ORLANDO, JUNE 11, 2014 — Local evangelical leaders joined a press call today previewing local Orlando and Tampa screenings of The Stranger, a documentary film that highlights the biblical call to welcome the stranger and explore immigration reform from a distinctly Christian perspective.

More than 1,000 attendees are expected at each of the two screenings at 7 p.m. tonight. The Tampa and Orlando screenings will be hosted by the Evangelical Immigration Table and the National Latino Evangelical Coalition. The film highlights the moral imperatives for reform, including the immense human costs our current system exacts on our churches, our families and our communities.

The film is available for download at www.thestrangerfilm.org. Across the country, more than 700 screenings have been scheduled in more than 30 states.

On the call, speakers stressed that reform remains urgent this year urged Congress to move forward in spite of Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary defeat. The following are quotes from speakers on today’s call:

Rev. Evelyn Chaparro, Spanish Pastor, The River Church, Brandon:
“There are too many people that do not understand the suffering of the immigrant. I believe this movie will open a window to the hearts of many. Many who will want to help and will finally see that we have to do the right thing and help the immigrant with reform that will make sense in the eyes of God and to this country.”

Rev. Javier Figueroa, President, Pastors Association of Kissimmee:
“Only Congress can provide lasting solutions, and it must. While The Stranger helps us understand the problems created by the status quo, only Congress can add a sustainable solution. Stories like those featured in this film will continue to proliferate until our leaders take action. Evangelicals expect Congress to pass commonsense immigration reform this year.”

 Rev. Joel Hunter, Senior Pastor, Northland Church, Longwood:
“Immigration reform is a must for Florida. A large portion of our state population is particularly hurt by a broken immigration system, and the millions of evangelicals who live here increasingly know, and want to help, the families that live in the shadows of fear and separation.”

Rev. Lynn Nichols, Senior Pastor, Tampa First Church of the Nazarene:
“Immigration has become a political football kicked around in order to score points for politicians. Or it has become the issue to blame people’s financial woes on. What it needs to become is personal. Immigrants are people God loves, and we need to begin responding to them the way God does and asks us to in His Word. The Stranger tells the stories of real people and the real need for immigration reform.”

Dr. Oliver Phillips, Executive Director, Connexion Empowerment Center Inc. (CECI), Orlando:
“The present system is both inequitable and inadequate. The genius of America is that we solve problems, and there is no more pressing issue for us than to repair and reform the present system. This reform must be comprehensive in nature. It must be sensitive to those who have been caught in long lines awaiting a response from the legal channels. It must be smart enough to capitalize on the rich talent that has contributed to the labor pool that guarantees affordable houses and low prices in the grocery stores. It must be compassionate enough to empathize with the deteriorating living conditions from which undocumented immigrants come. It must be generous enough to demand of us that we remember that we are all immigrants.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“Evangelicals sustain an unwavering commitment to immigration reform. It’s the right thing to do. The Stranger film puts in front of our eyes the lamentable human costs of inaction. Now is the time to act.”

Film Screenings Information:

WHEN:         Wednesday, June 11
                          Both Screenings: 7 p.m. EDT

WHERE:       Tampa Screening:
                           Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal M.I.
5800 North Church Avenue
Tampa

Orlando Screening:
                          Iglesia El Calvario
2500 West Oak Ridge Road
                         Orlando

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform and follow the film @thestrangerfilm.

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Evangelical Leaders, Local Pastors Highlight New Film Exploring Biblical Response to Immigration

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

CHICAGO, JUNE 3, 2014 — Local and national evangelical leaders joined a press call today in advance of Wednesday’s world premiere of The Stranger.

The documentary film, a project of the Evangelical Immigration Table, looks at immigration from a biblical perspective and highlights the stories of three families caught in our broken immigration system. These stories underscore the immense human costs our current system exacts on our churches, families and communities.

The premiere event Wednesday will include a screening and panel discussion with national and local evangelical leaders. Throughout the month, it will screen at local churches, theaters and community centers across the country — already, more than 500 screenings are scheduled in more than 30 states.

A trailer is available at the film’s website, http://www.thestrangerfilm.org.

The following are quotes from leaders on today’s press call:

Paco Amador, Pastor, New Life Community Church, Little Village, Chicago:
“The Stranger describes the kind of immigration reform that we as evangelicals believe our nation needs. This is not an obscure issue being talked about in semi-empty halls of government buildings. It is a daily conversation at kitchen tables, classrooms, boardrooms, factories, parks and social venues throughout the land, with direct impact for countless individuals, families and entire communities.

“The kind of immigration reform we are seeking has the power to influence the destiny of our country for generations to come by providing real hope and opportunities for every hardworking and responsible person within our borders. This film paints our message in human strokes.”

Galen Carey, Vice President of Government Relations, National Association of Evangelicals:
“The Stranger tells the stories of immigrant families, showing that they are people just like us, with hopes and dreams — and the added challenge of having to navigate our broken immigration system. It is heartbreaking that children worry about their parents being taken away, and devastating to know that these nightmares have too often become a tragic reality for innocent children. Evangelicals are responding with compassion and with the conviction that there must be a better way.”

Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association, Chicago:
“The new documentary The Stranger is another important effort to educate and mobilize a growing movement of evangelicals across a wide spectrum that have joined our effort to reform our broken immigration system.”

Filmmaker Linda Midgett, Owner/Executive Producer, Midgett Productions:
“It was an honor to be asked to produce The Stranger by the Evangelical Immigration Table. It’s not often that I am able to use my skills as a filmmaker to address such an important issue. I went into this project not sure what I thought personally about our immigration system. After doing the research, interviewing experts and, most important, hearing the stories of families who are being torn apart, I am convinced that it’s imperative we reform our laws now. I pray evangelicals rally around this film and create change that will help our nation and show the love of Christ to all.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition; Pastor, The Lamb’s Church, New York City:
“The power of The Stranger film is that it brings to the screen the pain and suffering caused by a broken immigration system. Evangelicals continue to urge Congress to act this year to bring a humane resolution to hurting families.”

Pastor Derrick Smith, Kaleidoscope Multi-Ethnic Fellowship, Spartanburg, S.C. (featured in the film):
“This film is important because American Christians ought to view immigration reform more as loving Christians and less as offended Americans. The Bible is clear that Christians are to welcome the stranger.”

Information about the world premiere:

WHAT:
World premiere of The Stranger, followed by a panel discussion with national and local evangelical leaders

WHO: 
Paco Amador, Pastor, New Life Community Church, Little Village, Chicago
Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals
Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association, Chicago
Peter Hong, Lead Pastor, New Community Covenant Church, Chicago
Mike Rolfes, Director, Renew Chicago
Lilian Samaan, Executive Director, World Relief Chicago
Matthew Soerens, Field Director, Evangelical Immigration Table; U.S. Church Training Specialist, World Relief
Jim Wallis, President, Sojourners
Jenny Yang, Vice President of Advocacy and Policy, World Relief

WHEN: 
7 p.m. CDT Wednesday, June 4

WHERE:
Park Community Church
1001 N. Crosby Street
Chicago

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform and follow the film @thestrangerfilm.

ICYMI: Evangelical, Catholic Leaders Continue Call for Reform

Op-Eds Urge Congressional Action

WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 30, 2014— Continuing the efforts of faith leaders across the country calling for action on commonsense immigration reform, three notable national figures have new op-eds today in support of reform.

The leaders all call for an urgent solution to our broken system that separates families and hurts communities.

“Pastors need an answer for undocumented congregants who otherwise obey the law and are seeking a way to get right with the law,” writes Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, in Virginia’s Richmond Times-Dispatch. “Congress must provide that answer. Until then, there is nothing to point them toward, and the whole body continues to suffer.”

“At its heart, immigration reform is about people, not politics,” Jim Wallis, President and Founder of Sojourners, says in a National Journal piece. “Inspired by the teachings of our faith and deeply concerned about the suffering and degradation the current system imposes on millions of people created in God’s image, evangelicals and many other people of faith have been steadfast in our support for congressional action to fix and heal this moral crisis.”

Elsewhere in the faith community, the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops brought prayers and urgency to Washington with Mass on Capitol Hill Thursday, following its border Mass in April.

“Now is the time for the House to pass common-sense, comprehensive immigration reform that the American people support and the American economy needs,” writes Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami in The Hill. “This issue isn’t just about immigrant communities, it’s about our values and identity as a nation.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform.

ICYMI: More than 250 Pastors Come to Washington to Stress Moral Urgency of Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 2, 2014 — On Tuesday, more than 250 pastors from 25 states traveled to Washington to meet with their members of Congress, pray for reform and urge Congress on behalf of their congregations to vote on reform this year.

“Immigration reform offers the finest opportunity we in the United States have had to put politics aside and do the right thing, for the right reason, at the right time,” said Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, as reported by the Christian Post.

Patterson spoke during a press conference that was followed by a worship service and more than 110 Hill meetings with rank-and-file members of Congress, most of them Republican.

The day followed 17 press events featuring local pastors in 13 states over 10 days.

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

More than 250 Local Evangelical Pastors Meet with Congress, Urge Votes on Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 29, 2014 — More than 250 local evangelical pastors from 25 states are on Capitol Hill to meet with their members of Congress and urge a vote this year on immigration reform.

Pastors attended a worship service this morning, and meetings are scheduled this afternoon with more than 100 rank-and-file members of Congress, most of them Republican. Today’s event comes on the heels of 17 local press events in 13 states over a 10-day stretch, at which pastors stressed the urgency for reform and highlighted their trip.

At a press conference this morning, leaders and local pastors from across the evangelical spectrum spoke about the urgency for action:

Eugene Cho, Pastor, Quest Church, Seattle:
“I was 6 years old when my family immigrated to this country. I am grateful not only for my parents’ sacrifice but for the hospitality of this amazing country. I am truly a grateful American citizen. I am in deep support of immigration reform — not only because of my personal story, but also because of the moral imperative given to us by Scripture. I am a pastor, not a politician, and I don’t like politics. But I acknowledge that we must engage politically because it is the only way to fix systems that impact people. So today I am here to tell our members of Congress that it is time to do their jobs.”

Rich Nathan, Senior Pastor, Vineyard Columbus, Columbus, Ohio:
“For me, immigration reform is not a political or partisan issue. It’s a moral issue and it’s a family issue. Our congregation has people from 120 different countries. We’ve seen married couples separated, mothers taken away from their children and fathers deported because of the broken immigration system. We need reform and we need it now.”

Paige Patterson, President, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas:
“Immigration reform offers the finest opportunity we in the United States have had to put politics aside and do the right thing, for the right reason, at the right time. For all the criticism heaped on the USA, we remain the most generous and kind country in the world. With no hint at amnesty, with determination to have a republic ruled by law, let us wrap our arms around all the well-meaning people who have sought the umbrella of America’s protection and opportunity.”

John Perkins, Chairman Emeritus and Co-founder, Christian Community Development Association:
“Fifty years ago the African-American community longed to be heard, and unfortunately much of the evangelical community was not standing with us. However, I’m absolutely honored to be standing today with my brothers and sisters looking forward, recognizing that the urgency of the now is upon us. It is time for us to make a decision for immigration reform.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition; and Pastor of The Lamb’s Church, New York City:
“Evangelicals believe that now is the time to cross the proverbial Rubicon on immigration reform. It’s the right thing to do. Every day there’s a delay, families, particularly children, continue to suffer. As a pastor and parent my urgent prayer is for a vote on immigration reform this year.”

Rev. Althea C Taylor, Executive Pastor, Bronx Bethany Church of the Nazarene, New York City:
“A society is judged on the treatment of the most vulnerable among them. Undocumented immigrants represent some of the most vulnerable within our society. As a nation anchored in caring for the inalienable rights of humanity, our moral compass is being tested by how we care for undocumented Immigrants amongst us. Ignoring the plight of undocumented immigrants speaks to the very fabric of our moral integrity as a nation.”

Bryant Wright, Senior Pastor, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, Marietta, Ga.; President, Southern Baptist Convention, 2010 to 2012:
“I’m here today because in 2011, the Southern Baptist Convention overwhelmingly approved a resolution on immigration reform. The leadership of the convention was concerned that so many conservative Christians were having their views shaped by talk radio and other news outlets, and we wanted them to come to a position shaped by Biblical teaching. Now it’s time to bring these Biblical teachings to our leaders in Washington, D.C., and ask for immigration reform this year.”

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

Illinois Evangelical Leaders Call for a Vote on Immigration Reform

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

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

CHICAGO, APRIL 28, 2014 — Top Illinois evangelical leaders joined a telephonic press conference today to highlight the biblical call to welcome the stranger and urge Congress to move forward with a vote on immigration reform.

The press conference comes a day before the pastors travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with their members of Congress and highlight the moral imperatives for immigration reform. And it will build on the momentum of last week’s support for reform from Illinois Republican and business leaders.

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

Noel Castellanos, Christian Community Development Association, Chicago:
“I am so excited to see so many key evangelical leaders in Illinois fully engaged in advocating for a just and commonsense reform of our broken immigration system. Along with serving our immigrant brothers and sister in our churches, we will also urge members of the House to introduce and pass immigration legislation immediately.”

Chris McElwee, Local Impact Pastor, Wheaton Bible Church, West Chicago:
“As we examine what the Bible has to say about the ‘stranger’ living in our communities and we meet more and more immigrants in our neighborhood, we believe now more than ever that our immigration system is broken and in need of repair. This is an important issue for all Christians, and not just the immigrant. We urge both parties in Congress to come together and pass new legislation in order to create a just immigration system.”

Bertie Holmgren, Senior Associate Pastor, First Free Rockford:
“It is very exciting to see the momentum building behind immigration reform, particularly within the church, which is letting its voice be heard. It is imperative that the church be able to bring some grace and some common sense to the discussion on immigration issues, which are too often dominated by harsh rhetoric. That is the primary focus of the evangelical community in this debate: to stop and say, ‘What does God have to say about how we are to treat immigrants?’ ”

Aaron Monts, Pastor of Missions & Outreach, South Side Christian Church, Springfield:
“More than 250 pastors from 25 states will be descending upon Washington, D.C., tomorrow to advocate for sensible immigration reform with our elected representatives. As pastors we see in our congregations the effects of a broken immigration system tearing the lives of families apart. Our system is not only broken but destructive to the fabric of our society and our nation. This is a family values issue that must be resolved, and we are urging Congress to take action today because every day we wait, more families are torn apart.”

Luis Ruiz, Pastor, Rios de Aguas Vivas, Chicago:
“We seem to forget that one of the main lessons Jesus Christ taught us is to love our neighbors. President Obama and our legislators need to revisit our policies through the eyes of love — for the children who have no parents, the parents who are afraid to drive to work, and the families that have no stability in their communities. We need to continue letting our legislators and our other officials know that the church is here, and it needs to, wants to, and is available to help these families, but it will also be pushing along the wheels of progress on immigration reform.”

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

Springfield Evangelical Leaders Call for a Vote on Immigration Reform

Local Pastors Speak a Day Before Flying to D.C.

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio, APRIL, 28, 2014 — Top Springfield-area evangelical leaders met for a press conference today 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 will discuss the moral imperatives for immigration reform, their efforts during the April congressional recess and their #Pray4Reform trip Tuesday to Washington, D.C., to meet with their members of Congress.

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

Jesse Bowers, Missions Leader, Apex Community Church, Dayton:
“When a person tries to live out Scripture and truly love their neighbors as themselves, it becomes difficult to truly help humans who are hiding in fear from a system that needs change. My advocacy for reform comes not from a political position, but from a heart that desires to fully love those who some in society easily consider loveless.”

Dr. William Brown, Chancellor, Cedarville University, Cedarville:
“Many evangelical leaders are supporting immigration reform for moral reasons. Both in the Old and the New Testament, the call for God’s people is to care for those who for whatever reason are on the fringes of society. We see it as faithfulness to the Gospel call to love our neighbors. It’s hard to imagine Jesus telling us to either deport the undocumented or make them so miserable that they leave on their own. This is a unique opportunity for America. We are asking our representatives, Speaker Boehner and Congressman Turner, to be in the ranks of those who are helping to get immigration reform passed.”

Jack Legg, Lay Leader, Vineyard Springfield:
“As a Christian leader, I am called to love my neighbor. I do a great disservice to my neighbor if I debate the issue of immigration reform without knowing the individual people and families in my neighborhood who are most impacted by these issues. When one part of the Body hurts, the whole body hurts. I call on Speaker Boehner to bring this issue to the floor so Congress can pass sensible immigration reform that protects family unity, maintains fairness to the taxpayer, and, most of all, creates a pathway to citizenship for my amazing neighbors who bring so much good to this community.”

Cameron Luther, Student, Catholic Central School, Springfield:
“I support immigration reform because I want to see Springfield once again become the thriving city that I have heard so much about. Many of my friends are planning on vacating Springfield after they graduate from college because there aren’t enough high-paying, technology-based jobs in our area. As people leave our city, a hole is opening up, but I believe that immigrants can help stop the bleeding. Immigrants can help attract new businesses, fill vacant housing, and most of all, they bring an attitude of hope to Springfield. If we only provide them with a city that supports them, I think that immigrants will make Springfield great again.”

Jose Salas, Pastor, Iglesia Hispana Emanuel, Springfield:
“Many Latino Christians who live or work here in Springfield live in fear of being detained or deported. They came here because Springfield is a good place to live and because back in Mexico or Guatemala they would only be able to make a few dollars a day, not enough to feed their families. Many want to get right with the law, but our current system doesn’t provide a way for them to do that. The wait to come legally is often over 15 years and many have no hope of ever getting a green card.”

Monserrate Salas, Iglesia Hispana Emanuel, Springfield:
“I see the toll that this is taking on families and children right here in the Miami Valley. When moms and dads are detained or deported, the wage earners are taken out of the family and the children can’t survive without help. This is a tragedy for families. We support the deportation of people who are selling drugs or committing other serious crimes, but to deport people with minor traffic violations who came here just so that they could support their families seems like a far cry from Jesus’ call to welcome strangers and love them as we love ourselves.”

Jason Zastrow, Growing Teacher Lead, Apex Community Church, Dayton:
“Evangelicals, especially young evangelicals, care deeply about issues of justice. Immigration reform has energized them. They see it as their chance to be a part of something historic. Many evangelical churches regret that they didn’t actively support the civil rights movement. This generation wants to make sure that they don’t repeat that mistake. They understand that telling the Gospel story and living it out through advocacy for justice go hand in hand.”

Carl Ruby, Executive Director, Welcome Springfield; Ohio Director, Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform:
“This delegation is especially significant because we need to let Speaker Boehner and Congressmen Turner, Chabot , Wenstrup and Tiberi know that people of faith are ready to stand with them on this issue. Ohio is a great Midwestern state that values hard work and hospitality. We want our congressmen and congresswomen to take the lead in getting immigration reform passed this year.”

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

Cincinnati Evangelical Leaders Call for a Vote on Immigration Reform

Local Pastors Speak a Day Before Flying to D.C.

CINCINNATI, APRIL 28, 2014 — Top Cincinnati-area evangelical leaders met for a press conference today to highlight the biblical call to welcome the stranger and urge Congress to move forward with a vote on immigration reform.

Local pastors discussed the moral imperatives for immigration reform, their efforts during the April congressional recess and their #Pray4Reform trip Tuesday to Washington, D.C., to meet with their members of Congress.

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

Isis Canel, Pastor, La Viña Church, Cincinnati:
“As a wife and a mother, I plead with Congressman Chabot to listen to his heart. They just want the same chance that other waves of immigrants have enjoyed; the chance to work hard, save their money, and help their children live safe lives and get a good education. I hope that our presence in Washington will cause Congressman Chabot and other members of Congress to humble themselves before God and obey Jesus’s call to welcome the strangers and to care for the least of these.”

Mynor Canel, Pastor, La Viña Church, Cincinnati:
“My wife and I are going to Washington tomorrow because this issue affects our congregation. We worship in Spanish at La Viña so our congregation is composed of many first generation immigrants, people who came here to feed their families. Some left places where the violence was unbearable and they feared for the safety of their children. If there had been a way for them to come legally they would have done that rather than risk their lives in the desert, but the system that existed at Ellis Island no longer exists. Our people either can’t enter at all, or face a line that is 15 or 20 years long to get a green card. You can’t wait that long when your 5-year-old is hungry.”

Rich Jones, Associate Pastor for Students & their Families, Northminster Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati:
“This may be some of the most important human-rights-oriented legislation since the Civil Rights act of 1964. As a Presbyterian pastor, I work with students and their families in order to bring them into community with God, others, and their neighbors, whoever they may be. For me this isn’t just a political issue, it’s about who are as a society. I think what we should do as persons of faith is pretty clear in Scripture and in practice. We are blessed to live in a country where we can have a say in changing laws. I hope that this event will help Congressmen Chabot and Wenstrup, and that Speaker Boehner understands the sense of urgency that we feel about this issue.”

Peter Matthews, Pastor, Eden Chapel United Methodist Church, Cincinnati:
“Some may wonder why a bunch of pastors are taking the time to go to D.C., especially if we have congregations who are relatively untouched by this issue. They asked King that when he went to Birmingham and his reply was, ‘I am in Birmingham because injustice is here.’ I’m getting on a plane and going to Washington tomorrow because there is injustice in our land when it comes to our treatment of immigrants. Fifty years ago segregation was a stain on America’s reputation. I fear that if we don’t change our immigration policy, the detainment centers and mass deportations of otherwise law-abiding moms and dads will go down in history with segregated lunch counters and the Japanese internment camps.”

Carl Ruby, Executive Director, Welcome Springfield; Ohio Director, Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform:
“This delegation is especially significant because we need to let Congressman Wenstrup and Congressman Chabot know that people of faith are ready to stand with them on this issue. Ohio is a great Midwestern state that values hard work and hospitality. We want our congressmen and congresswomen to take the lead in getting immigration reform passed this year.”

Joshua Stoxen, Pastor, Elder, Vineyard Central Church, Norwood:
“Our nation’s current immigration policy is one marked by fear, confusion and injustice. As a person of faith, I believe God asks those in positions of power to protect the vulnerable and work on behalf of the marginalized. Unfortunately, the brokenness of our current immigration system often increases immigrants’ vulnerability and marginalization, not least of which through the fostering of inhumane and exploitive working conditions for those who are undocumented. The Evangelical Immigration Table’s bipartisan principles for immigration reform provide a realistic, just and helpful way forward. I am hopeful that current members of Congress, including Representative Wenstrup and Representative Chabot, will have the moral courage to support such reform, even in the face of partisan and election-year pressures.”

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

Louisiana Evangelical Leaders Call for a Vote on Immigration Reform

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

NEW ORLEANS, APRIL 25, 2014 — Top Louisiana evangelical leaders joined a telephonic press call Thursday to highlight the biblical call to welcome the stranger and urge Congress to move forward with a vote on immigration reform.

On the call, local pastors discussed the moral imperatives for immigration reform, their efforts during the April congressional recess and their Tuesday #Pray4Reform trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with their members of Congress.

The following are quotes from Louisiana evangelical leaders involved in these efforts:

Wade Moody, Pastor, Iglesia VIDA Assembly of God Church, New Orleans:
“As pastors we always have to go to our Scripture, and the Scripture tells us that we must welcome the stranger among us. Immigration reform is something much greater than any political party or any type of tool to get votes. This is something to help families, to help children, to help marriages that are being destroyed. We can’t keep pushing this for another time, because the more days Congress pushes this back, the more families are being divided.”

David Epstein, President/Minister, Faith Works:
“We’re committed to business ownership for those who come to this country with a dream of a better life for their family. Not only is this how America was built, it improves the economy, adds jobs, and makes things better for everyone else too. People came here centuries ago who weren’t afraid of hard work and sacrifice, and now their grandchildren are prosperous. We can give that gift to those who come here now.”

Dr. Rick Hertless, Evangelist, Singer, Author, Radio Host of “His Gospel Power”:
“I’m an evangelist by calling, but I’m passionate about this issue of immigration because I see it affect so many lives. As evangelical leaders we’re calling for a bipartisan solution to immigration. We’re not supporting any bill, we’re not opposing any bill — that’s for our lawmakers who we elected to do. But we’re asking that they adhere to our principles of respecting the God-given dignity of every person, protecting the unity of immediate family, respecting the rule of the law, ensuring fairness to the taxpayers, and creating a path to legal status or citizenship. This issue is vital for our country and vital for Louisiana.”

Gary Maroney, Vice President, Louisiana Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists:
“Immigration is a vital issue facing our nation as well as a Scriptural issue of how we are to treat our brothers. We desire Congress to act and address this issue according to Biblical principles. As an evangelist, I see this issue affect many lives around the country. The system is broken, but if addressed and dealt with, it will affect every American citizen. That is why I am going to Washington to speak to our representatives. The time to act is now!”

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

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