Bishop Hutterer: For many Lutherans, immigration is a memory that is still alive…
For many Lutherans, immigration is a memory that is still alive in ourselves and our families. You may have grown up in a congregation that worshipped in different languages. Your home church might have had German inscribed in the stained glass, or you celebrated a holiday with special foods.
Our involvement with immigration is as old as the Bible. The people of Israel were refugees. The Holy family were refugees. It continued into post World War II, when one in every six Lutherans was a refugee. It continues today in the work of the Lutheran World Federation, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest, and other organizations.
We are Lutheran and we are a pro-immigrant church.
Living in this place and time, there are many fears. Uncertainty about the future of our church, our economy, and our safety. Public discourse can feed into this fear.
It is helpful to remember that immigrants pay taxes, add to the economy as consumers, and generate revenue as business owners. They comprise a significant and important part of the workforce. They are an important part of our Synod’s diverse and thriving communities, and make contributions that benefit all of us.
Our current immigration system is in need of repair, and I hope and pray we can have civil conversations about change that makes sense. I believe people of faith, people of this Synod, are needed voices.
As we converse, let’s retain the humanity of these neighbors at the center of our hearts and actions. Scripture is clear. God calls us to hospitality. The Kingdom of Heaven has no borders.
I am thankful for the congregations that have been leaders in sheltering asylum seekers under their roofs, co-sponsored newly arriving refugee families, and have raised their voices to elected officials.
More hands are needed for all of these initiatives. Contact Pastor Kevin Meyer (LSS-SW), Pastor Jeff Kallevig or Pastor Mateo Chavez (Cruzando Fronteras a joint ministry of the Grand Canyon Synod and Episcopal Dioceses of Arizona), or the Office of the Bishop (advocacy) for more information how to get started.
As Martin Luther remarked, when hospitality is shown to the persecuted and oppressed, “God himself is in our home, is being fed at our house, is lying down and resting.”
Grateful for how God works through you in the world,
The Rev. Deborah K. Hutterer
Grand Canyon Synod of the ELCA