Episcopal churches issue statement ‘of shared values about immigration and refugees’; encourage others to sign

March 15, 2017

[Church of the Heavenly Rest] Episcopal clergy are invited to sign a statement “of shared values about immigration and refugees.” More than 50 clergy members have signed as of March 15.

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear
A Statement of Shared Values about Immigration & Refugees

Scripture and tradition call us to welcome the immigrant and the stranger.  Abraham and Sarah’s travels in Genesis, including their hospitality to three strangers by the oaks of Mamre, and the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt in the Gospel of Matthew remind us that God protects those who seek safety in foreign lands.  Scripture also calls people of faith to provide refuge:

“The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt”  (Leviticus 19:34).

The undersigned clergy of The Episcopal Church are making a shared statement of values about the presence of immigrants and refugees in our communities.

Our congregations are diverse.  We are high church and low church, big and small, from red states and blue states.  Our parishioners hold points of view across the political spectrum.

We share a common commitment to honor immigrants, refugees, and neighbors from different religions and we are deeply disturbed by the current swell of fear and scapegoating which seeks to criminalize and unfairly deport undocumented immigrants in our communities.

We are a nation of immigrants, and immigrants are important to the future of our country.  They face problems particular to their status but they are deeply connected with our wider communities.  They are long-time friends, neighbors, colleagues, students, service providers– and taxpayers.  Statistics show that immigrants support a growing economy and that the crime rate among immigrants is lower than the general population.

But data is secondary to our unshakable biblical conviction that every person reflects the image of God and deserves to be treated with dignity.  In Jesus Christ, there is no “they;” there is only “we.”

Immigration policies are not hypothetical questions for us.  Many of our congregations include immigrants and our ministries work with refugees in our neighborhoods.  Many of our communities have already been raided by immigration officials.  Families are being separated and children left stranded.  Our neighbors have reason to be afraid.

We commit to build relationships with immigrants and refugees in our communities, to know their stories and understand how our congregations can be in solidarity with them.

We stand together to witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ:  those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also (1 John 4:20).

At this moment in our national life, we proclaim: Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).

The Rev. David Anderson, St. Luke’s Church, Darien, Connecticut
The Very Rev. Stephen Carlsen, Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis, Indiana
The Rev. Matthew Heyd, Church of the Heavenly Rest, New York
The Rev. Julia Whitworth, Trinity Church, Indianapolis, Indiana
The Rev. Neil Alan Willard, Palmer Memorial Church, Houston, Texas

For a full list of signers as of March 15 or to read the statement in Spanish click here.