PRESS RELEASE: Evangelicals Pray for Immigration Reform at Hundreds of Events and Gatherings Nationwide

Evangelical Christians Urge Congress to Move Reform Forward

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With immigration reform on deck for Congress, evangelical Christians across the country are in the midst of more than 400 events and gatherings in 40 states to pray for immigrants, for Congress and for broad, bipartisan reform.

At large events and small gatherings, “Pray4Reform: Gathered Together in Jesus’ Name” continues the evangelical Pray for Reform campaign, through which more than 187,000 people have signed up as prayer partners. The Evangelical Immigration Table supports reform that reflects biblical values, including family unity and the God-given dignity of every person.

Events continue through Sunday, with a few additional events planned for later in October and into November (a map of larger events is available here). In addition, evangelical Christians will be traveling to Washington, D.C., Oct. 29 to meet with members of Congress and urge movement on reform.

Follow the conversation on Twitter at #pray4reform, and find a recording of a press call announcing this week’s prayer gatherings here. The following are quotes from local participants in this week’s Pray4Reform events:

Luis Cantú, Pastor, Sagemont Church, Houston:
“When I was a boy, I fought for the street corner where I could shine shoes so I could eat. As a young man I fought for my American citizenship. This issue of immigration reform is a 15-rounder. We cannot give up now. We must win the right for those who live hidden in the shadows of society the right to come out and live under the bright lights of the streets and contribute their skills in legal status or as American citizens. The time for reform is now!”

Rev. Dr. David Fleming, Senior Pastor, Champion Forest Baptist Church, Houston:
“We are a nation of laws, yes. But we also have a God-given responsibility as Christians to care for people created in the image of God. We have every right to insist that our laws are just and fairly enforced. But we must remember who we are as a nation of immigrants. And for us here tonight, we are here as Christians, before God, accountable for how we treat people — all people, regardless of status or position.”

Dr. John Jackson, President, William Jessup University, Sacramento, Calif.:
“As the President of an evangelical university, I am for immigration reform that is just, merciful and compassionate. I am praying for our legislators that they will establish a ‘new Ellis Island’ that, coupled with safe and secure national borders, will again declare that the United States is the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave’ as a nation under God. Immigration laws that reflect the just and compassionate heart of God is my prayer.”

Rev. Alex Mandes, Director of Hispanic Ministries, Evangelical Free Church of America:
“There are people wondering why the church should be speaking on this matter, but for us the church can have only one plan: to be the hands, legs and feet of Jesus. All of us were immigrants in trouble at one time. If the church wants to be relevant and help, it better show up when people are hurting. For us, this is what Jesus would do.”

Rev. Chase Stancle, Kentwood Community Church, Grand Rapids, Mich.:
“As Christians, we should be concerned about immigration because we ourselves are immigrants. As believers in Christ, our primary citizenship is The Kingdom of God. I am proud to be an American but this is not my home. If we have accepted His gift of salvation, we have renounced our Earthly Citizenships and no longer call this home. I am an immigrant. Because Christ welcomes me as a citizen of His heavenly home, it is my privilege to extend that grace here in America as we seek and support legislation that will live up to the standards of our home.”

Dave Workman, Pastor, Vineyard Cincinnati:
“The system that [immigrants are] stuck in is just a really, really broken system. These are people who really want to work, really want to contribute to our city, and are stuck in the littlest ways, [which] has created all sorts of turmoil in their lives and really difficult situations in their families … The idea of beginning to pray for our leaders and just to get some sort of movement of reform in our immigration policy — that just seems like a smart and wise thing to do. I know it’s a complex problem, but I know there are solutions here that will satisfy [both ends] of the spectrum in terms of politics.”