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Category Archive for: "Statements and Press Releases"

Michigan Evangelical Leaders Call for a Vote on Immigration Reform

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

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., APRIL 24, 2014 — Top Grand Rapids 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 Tuesday #Pray4Reform trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with their members of Congress.

The following are quotes from local pastors at today’s press conference and other pastors who will be in Washington on Tuesday:

Brian Bennett, Pastor, Overflow Church, Benton Harbor:
“Immigration reform is important to me as a Christian community leader because of Jesus’ command to love our neighbor and the clear heart God has for love, mercy, and justice found throughout Scripture. I also have friends who are affected personally by the current debate, who are waiting for a visa, and whose lives in this generation are being affected by the failure of the previous generation to properly address the issue.”

Jacci Busch, Pastor, McBain Christian Reformed Church, McBain:
“I live in a farming community that hires quite a few immigrant workers. The farmers and other employers want to do what’s right by their employees, and many immigrants desire to do what’s right as well. Both sides often feel trapped by the laws of our country.”

Randy Buursma, Pastor, First Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids:
“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 of citizenship, or will we become a frightened and self-centered people who turn their backs on the needs of others?”

Dale Dalman, Pastor, Esperanza Covenant Church, Grand Rapids:
“I am praying for immigration reform because the current system does not work. It divides families and does not encourage people to follow the rule of law. Comprehensive immigration reform is needed to unite and strengthen families and encourage people to make a positive contribution to our nation.”

Janelle Koolhaas, Pastor, Reformed Church in America, Holland:
“As a pastor, I am most concerned with how our broken immigration system affects families’ and individuals’ lives. In a nation that so often claims a rich moral heritage and values, it is strange to me that we are not eager to reshape our immigration laws so as to demonstrate the value and dignity of persons’ lives, and the importance keeping families together.”

Adam Lipscomb, Lead Pastor, City Life Wesleyan Church, Grand Rapids:
“Immigration reform is important to me because undocumented immigrants are my neighbors, friends, colleagues in ministry and part of our church. They have become part of the fabric of our community. And when they are deported, it rips not only their own families apart, but leaves a tattered hole in many of the communities that I love.”

Angel Lopez, Student, Western Theological Seminary, Holland:
“When any group consistently falls between the cracks or is off the radar, it cannot but weaken the larger community. Let’s face it: Undocumented immigrants already play a vital role in our economy and society. For the sake of both the undocumented person and the local community in which he or she lives, we must find a better way to live and work together.”
Daren Penwell, Pastor, Bailey Christian Church, Bailey:
“Since I minister in the fruit ride area of West Michigan, I come into regular contact with those impacted by immigration issues. I minister to families who must wrestle with the practical implications of one or both parents who are undocumented and for whom the challenges of documentation are daunting and may even first involve a dangerous journey back home. Balancing border safety, national budgetary concerns and, more importantly, the fact that real people made in the image of God with real families are involved seems overwhelming. But I believe commonsense solutions can and must be developed and articulated for the benefit of our nation, as well as for the many who simply want to work hard to supply for the needs of their families.”

Kris VanEngen, Congregational Justice Mobilizer, Christian Reformed Church in North America, Grand Rapids:
“Families and faith, business, education, agriculture and law enforcement leaders all say the immigration system is broken to a point of being inhumane. It doesn’t have to be this way. There is no defensible reason to keep the status quo. As Christians we cannot condone this injustice. It’s time to vote for a more just immigration system.”

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

Jacksonville Evangelical Leaders Call for a Vote on Immigration Reform

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

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., APRIL 24, 2014 — Top Jacksonville evangelical leaders held a press conference Tuesday 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 April 29 #Pray4Reform trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with their members of Congress. Hosts included the Evangelical Immigration Table, World Relief Jacksonville, First Baptist Church of Orange Park and Iglesia Ciudad.

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

Garry Swearingen, Associate Pastor, San Jose Church of Christ:
“It’s obvious to me that our political leaders would act in a responsible way if they could only hear the combined voices of all concerned Christians who are interested in bringing this long talked about and important topic to a meaningful resolution. Let us all fervently pray that God will use our trip to D.C. to bring these representatives to the boldness needed to step up and use the biblical principles set forth by the Evangelical Immigration Table in solving this regional and national issue.”

David Tarkington, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Orange Park:
“As followers of Jesus Christ, we understand that reform is needed regarding the United States’ immigration practices. While immigration is a political, economic and legal issue, it is ultimately a moral issue. Immigration reform is not about amnesty, but accountability. Proper reform must respect those who abide by our laws and value the individual. Our support for immigration reform calls for the advancement of the Gospel of Jesus while pursuing justice and compassion. Our intention in Washington, D.C., next week is to help our Congress move forward with immigration reform with our support.”

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

California Evangelical Leaders Call for a Vote on Immigration Reform

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

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

LOS ANGELES, APRIL 24, 2014— Evangelical leaders from across California joined a telephonic press conference Wednesday 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 April 29 #Pray4Reform trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with their members of Congress.

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

Pastor Tim Celek, Lead Pastor, The Crossing Church, Costa Mesa:
“My goal has been to encourage people to support public policy that is consistent with the Bible. I have been wrestling with immigration myself over the years. I’ve wondered: Am I going to stand up for these people, am I going to stand up with these people? It’s not a political issue, it’s not an economic issue. There are many times in the Scriptures where we as people are to encourage the alien among us and we are to show hospitality to the strangers among us. It’s good in our church to see our people embrace all people.”

Rev. Juan-Daniel Espitia, Associate Pastor, Hispanic Ministries, Solana Beach Presbyterian Church, Solana Beach:
“In the last four to five years, I have lost 64 members of my congregation due to either deportation or ‘checkpoints’ that are placed near my church. I can see the vulnerability, the fear and the destruction that this broken immigration system is causing for families. On the other hand I can see the wonderful potential. That’s why I’ll be traveling to Washington, D.C., to join in Pastors for Reform [Tuesday]. Immigration reform is consistent with our principles and our needs, and it needs to happen this year.”

Dr. Mark Labberton, President, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena:
“Immigration is first and foremost about our commitment to scripture. Deep and sustained political reform is needed for immigration because the Scripture speaks so strongly for the person who is at the margins, the person who is the stranger, the alien, the visitor. We find over and over that God honors people, and yet the current immigration law does not do that.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“Immigration reform isn’t dead because the stories are real. As long as there are churches committed to advancing the cause of righteousness and justice, immigration reform lives. On April 29, we’ll have pastors from all around the country coming to Washington, D.C., to practice prophetic activism, and to tell Congress that we need a vote on reform.”

Lillia Suh, Holywave Associate Pastor and NEXT Singles Assistant Pastor, Sarang Community Church, Anaheim:
“As a leader at the largest Korean church outside of Korea, our broken immigration system is not something I can ignore. This is an issue that directly impacts our church community and many others across the nation. Our broken system puts lives and families at stake, which we feel acutely. That’s why we pray that our representative Ed Royce be a leader on the immigration issue.  And we’re not only praying, but also urging that our members of Congress work together and vote on immigration reform this year.”

Pastor Jonathan Villalobos, Lead Pastor, Bethany Inner-City Church, Fresno:
“We have been enriched by the variety of people who have come to our community. In our school district, we have 170 languages. Many people have problems because of our broken immigration system. I’ve seen families exploited and victimized by human trafficking. We need reform that will bring comfort, peace and unity to our families. It’s time for action. It’s time for our Congress to legislate.”

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

Colorado Evangelical Leaders Call for a Vote on Immigration Reform

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

DENVER, APRIL 23, 2014 — Top Colorado evangelical leaders joined a virtual 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 from Rep. Cory Gardner’s district (CO-04) 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., to meet with their members of Congress.

The following are quotes from today’s press conference:

Abraham Torres, Pastor, 23rd Avenue Church, Greeley:
“I am going to Washington, D.C., because I’m tired of seeing how my community suffers. I’m tired of seeing people live in the shadows because they are afraid for their families, their friends and neighbors. And I’m tired of seeing how the dreams of our youth are truncated because of a broken system designed to take advantage of the undocumented. I’m proud of the community in which I live, people with documents and without, hardworking people, people who speak different languages, people of different colors and cultures. We’re all created in the image of God; we’re all equal.”

Michelle Warren, Advocacy and Policy Engagement Coordinator, Christian Community Development Association:
“I have had the opportunity to take more than 60 pastors and ministry leaders to Washington, D.C., to meet with their legislators regarding the need for immigration reform. As evangelical Christians, we embrace the truth of the Bible and its call to welcome and love the foreigner. We believe that the current immigration system is unjust. It separates families and keeps people in a perpetually broken place without the ability to be restored. We desire to see compassionate immigration reform that values the dignity of people and protects the unity of the family alongside border security.”

Janie Wead-Mobley, Director, Hispanic Project, Assemblies of God U.S. Mission, Castle Rock:
“As a Castle Rock resident in Rep. Cory Gardner’s district, I’m going to Washington to be a part of an evangelical, conservative voice advocating for immigration reform. I have the joy of serving as a Spanish speaking missionary to U.S. Hispanics; I know their plight very personally and up close. Multitudes of my acquaintances were brought to this country as children and have absolutely no recourse to come in from the shadows. I am joining other conservative voices, expressing urgency to move on this vital issue. It is time to stop the vitriol and move to reform our antiquated and broken system.”

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

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.

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.

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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.

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