Disciples leaders respond to the humanitarian crisis on the southern border

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“For the Lord your God…executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner therefore; for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:17-19)

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” (Matthew 19:14)

Dear Church,

Our sacred scriptures are filled with stories of uprooted peoples and prophets in movement, with constant presence and direction from God.  We are inspired by the leading of our Lord who liberated the Israelites, comforted the community as they faced exile and later repatriation, and guided Jesus’ family to safety as they fled persecution under Herod.  We therefore are ready to live out our call to demonstrate radical hospitality and welcome today’s immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers who are likewise searching for protection from persecution.

Our hearts grieve the deaths of children on the U.S.-Mexico border and in detention facilities while in U.S. custody which are at odds with our call to welcome.  We urge the release of immigrant children and adults held captive within our land in detention holding centers reported in recent weeks by the Office of Inspector General to have “issues of dangerous overcrowding” and sub-standard hygiene requiring “corrective action…critical to the immediate health and safety needs of detainees.” We are appalled by the “prolonged detention of children and adults,” despite regulations aimed to ensure children are housed only in sanitary conditions, are released without unnecessary delay, and would be placed in the least restrictive conditions.

We remember how Jesus announced his ministry “to preach good news to the poor… proclaim release to the captives and…set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18).  We reaffirm our previous commitments against family separations and efforts to end child detention, and we again demand these practices that are keeping children detained in dozens of facilities be ended.  Together with the Oklahoma Conference of Churches, we speak out against the housing of immigrant children at Fort Sill Army post where Japanese Americans were interned during World War II, and “cannot stand silent as this history is repeated with innocent children who will, no doubt, incur trauma and life-altering consequences.”   

Because we believe that love can transcend every cultural divide, we join with ecumenical and interfaith partners to urge all persons seeking asylum be granted full due process and opportunities to pursue protections as guaranteed by national and international laws.  We confess US foreign policies have contributed to exploitation of Central American countries and created root conditions that encourage persons to migrate.

As people of faith, we are eager to “not neglect to show hospitality to strangers” (Hebrews 13:2) and to strengthen our efforts to become “Immigrant Welcoming Congregations.”  Therefore, we urge our government leaders to positively and urgently address the crisis at the border; such as establishing regional refugee processing centers, strengthening asylum protections in the US and Mexico, modernizing ports of entry, using existing funding to US Customs and Border Protection to hire child welfare professionals, supporting proven and community-based alternatives to detention, and addressing the root causes of migration.

In this critical moment, aware that our “ancestor Jacob was a wandering Aramean who went to live as a foreigner in Egypt…but…became a large and mighty nation” (Deuteronomy 26:5, NLT), we seek to faithfully assume our responsibilities to care for the sojourner.  For we remember Jesus’ words that “as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).

In Christ’s love,
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Porque el Señor su Dios… hace justicia al huérfano y a la viuda, y que ama también al extranjero y le da pan y vestido. Así que ustedes deben amar a los extranjeros, porque ustedes fueron extranjeros en Egipto.” (Deuteronomio 10: 17-19)

Entonces Jesús dijo: “Dejen que los niños se acerquen a mí. No se lo impidan, porque el reino de los cielos es de los que son como ellos.” (Mateo 19:14)

Querida Iglesia,

Nuestras sagradas escrituras están llenas de historias de pueblos desarraigados y profetas en movimiento, con constante presencia y dirección de Dios. Nos inspiramos en el liderazgo de nuestro Señor que liberó a los israelitas, consoló a la comunidad mientras se enfrentaban al exilio y luego a la repatriación, y guió a la familia de Jesús a un lugar seguro mientras huían de la persecución bajo Herodes. Por lo tanto, estamos listos para cumplir nuestro llamado a demostrar una hospitalidad radical y dar la bienvenida a los inmigrantes, refugiados y solicitantes de asilo de hoy en día que también están buscando protección contra la persecución.

Nuestros corazones lloran la muerte de niños en la frontera de Estados Unidos con México y en centros de detención mientras se encuentran bajo la custodia de los Estados Unidos, lo que está en desacuerdo con nuestro llamado a recibir. Instamos a la liberación de niños y adultos inmigrantes que se encuentran cautivos dentro de nuestra tierra en centros de detención, mismos que de acuerdo al informe en las últimas semanas por la Oficina del Inspector General cuentan con “problemas de sobrepoblación peligroso” y una higiene deficiente que requiere “medidas correctivas … críticas para las necesidades inmediatas de salud y seguridad de los detenidos”. Nos sentimos horrorizados por la “detención prolongada de niños y adultos”, a pesar de las regulaciones destinadas a garantizar que los niños se alojen solo en condiciones sanitarias, sean liberados sin demoras innecesarias y se coloquen en las condiciones menos restrictivas.

Recordamos cómo Jesús anunció su ministerio “de predicar buenas nuevas a los pobres … proclamar la liberación a los cautivos y … poner en libertad a los oprimidos” (Lucas 4:18). Reafirmamos nuestros compromisos previos contra las separaciones familiares y los esfuerzos para poner fin a la detención de niños, y una vez más, exigimos que se ponga fin a estas prácticas que mantienen a los niños detenidos en docenas de instalaciones. Junto con la Conferencia de Iglesias de Oklahoma, nos manifestamos en contra de el alojamiento de los niños inmigrantes en el puesto del Ejército de Fort Sill donde los estadounidenses de origen japonés fueron internados durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, y “no podemos permanecer en silencio mientras que esta historia se repite con niños inocentes que, sin duda, incurrirán trauma y consecuencias que alteran la vida”.   

Debido a que creemos que el amor puede trascender todas las divisiones culturales, nos unimos a compañeros ecuménicos e interreligiosos para instar que a toda persona que solicite asilo sea otorgada el debido proceso completo y las oportunidades para buscar protecciones como lo garantizan las leyes nacionales e internacionales.Confesamos que las políticas exteriores de los Estados Unidos han contribuido a la explotación de los países centroamericanos y han creado condiciones de raíz que alientan a las personas a migrar.

Como personas de fe, estamos ansiosos por “no dejan de practicar la hospitalidad a los extraños” (Hebreos 13: 2) y fortalecer nuestros esfuerzos para convertirnos en “Congregaciones de acogida de inmigrantes”. Por lo tanto, instamos a nuestros líderes gubernamentales a abordar de manera positiva y urgente la crisis en la frontera; como el establecimiento de centros regionales de procesamiento de refugiados, el fortalecimiento de las protecciones de asilo en los EE. UU. y México, la modernización de los puertos de entrada, el uso de fondos existentes para Aduanas y Protección de Fronteras de los EE. UU. para contratar profesionales de bienestar infantil, apoyando alternativas a la detención comprobadas y basadas en la comunidad, y abordando las causas fundamentales de la migración.

En este momento crítico, conscientes de que nuestro “antepasado Jacob era un arameo errante que fue a vivir como extranjero en Egipto … pero … se convirtió en una nación grande y poderosa” (Deuteronomio 26: 5, NTV), buscamos asumir fielmente nuestras responsabilidades de cuidar al viajero. Porque recordamos las palabras de Jesús que “les digo que todo lo que hicieron por uno de mis hermanos más pequeños, por mí lo hicieron” (Mateo 25:40).

En el amor de Cristo,

Add your own name via the form at the bottom of this page. Names will not appear automatically but will be added on a regular basis. Learn more about immigration issues.

Rev. Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens, General Minister and President
Rev. Dr. Timothy James, Associate General Minister and Administrative Secretary of the National Convocation
Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea, Director, Disciples Home Missions Refugee & Immigration Ministries
Brad Lyons, Publisher, Christian Board of Publication/Chalice Press

Immigration Fact Check: Myths vs. Reality

Myths:

1. “Illegal immigration leads to higher crime rates; thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country.”

2. “Each week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone – 90 percent of which floods across from our Southern Border and is produced by Mexico. The southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs – including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl — and a border wall will fix this.”

3. “Americans are hurt by uncontrolled, illegal migration. Immigration strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages.”

4. “There is a security crisis at the southern border; thousands of illegal immigrants try to enter our country every day.”

5. “It’s illegal to migrate to the United States.”

Reality:

1. Research shows that immigrants commit crimes less frequently than American-born citizens, and illegal immigration does not lead to more violent crime. Researchers even found that states with higher shares of undocumented immigrants generally had lower crime rates than those with smaller shares of immigrants.

2. While 90 percent of the heroin sold in the United States comes from Mexico, virtually all of it comes through legal points of entry and wouldn’t be stopped by a border wall. The Drug Enforcement Administration says “only a small percentage” of heroin seized by U.S. authorities comes across on territory between ports of entry. The same is true of drugs generally.

3. While the data is complex, the consensus among economic research studies is that the impact of immigration is primarily a net positive for the U.S. economy and to workers overall, especially over the long term. The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found the job impacts of immigration, when measured over at least 10 years, are very small. It found immigration — legal and illegal — is an overall benefit to long-term economic growth.

4. The number of people crossing the border illegally is actually declining. Border crossings have been falling for years. U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported just over 300,000 apprehensions for illegal border crossings in 2017, the lowest in more than 45 years and down from more than 1.6 million in 2000. While more people were caught at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2018 than in 2017, these numbers are still far lower than they were in the mid-2000s. The number of people caught trying to cross illegally is near 20-year lows.

5. It’s perfectly legal to try to migrate to the U.S. through legal points of entry. Seeking asylum is also permitted, and law demands that immigrants have access to due process and safe and sanitary conditions. While the numbers of migrants crossing illegally are down, since 2014 more families from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have begun to seek asylum in the U.S. in search of safer conditions or economic opportunities, thus creating a humanitariancrisis, not a security crisis. The biggest security crisis related to immigration in the United States today is the inhumane and unlawful treatment of migrant families, including unsafe and unsanitary conditions that deny immigrants of their dignity and basic human rights.

Sources:
https://beta.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/01/09/fact-checking-president-trumps-oval-office-address-immigration/?outputType=amp; https://time.com/5530506/donald-trump-emergency-border-fact-check/?amp=true; https://www.apnews.com/3bf581a53684440b92121bb1b8ae43a9; https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/politics/Fact-Check-Trump-Claims-Drug-Smuggling-Border-Wall-504072361.html?amp=y

Dreaming of America (And Weeping Too)

Songs, poems & prayers in the spirit of justice, solidarity & love

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As our nation prepares to commemorate the Fourth of July, join us for a fundraising concert featuring local artists, musicians, and leaders as we dream of an America that truly lives up to the promise of liberty and justice for all.

June 30
6:30 p.m.
Brentwood Christian Church

All proceeds benefit Faith Voices of Southwest Missouri, a grassroots community of local activists and organizers committed to economic dignity and race equity.

Featured artists and presenters include:

  • Emily Bowen-Marler & the B Street Band, Brentwood Christian Church
  • Adrienne Denson Ewell, Campbell United Methodist Church
  • Mark Dixon, Bartley-Decatur Neighborhood Center
  • Micki Pulleyking, Westminster Presbyterian Church
  • Mayra Ramirez, Hand in Hand Multicultural Center
  • Toni Robinson, Springfield NAACP President
  • The Bruce Butler Five
  • And many more…

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The Way to the Cross, The Way of the Cross

Way of the Cross

This Sunday marks the beginning of a new sermon series for the season of Lent that explores the Way Jesus walked to the Cross and the how we as followers of Jesus are called to walk the Way of the Cross. Over the years, it has become easy for Christians to sentimentalize the Cross, to make it a symbol of transaction rather than the consequence of a life lived in dedication to the least of these and in resistance to the power of empire. When we follow Christ, we need to see the cross as more than simply what Christ has done for us individually and recognize it as a way that challenges us to resist empire and to seek the ones who have been harmed by the powers that be. Rev. Emily Bowen-Marler will explore some of the stories in the Gospels that illuminate the Way of the Cross walked by Jesus.

March 10 – Jesus in the Wilderness, “Simply Living So Others May Simply Live”
March 17 – The Parable of the Lost Sheep, “Abandoned and Welcomed”
March 24 – Zaccheus and Jesus, “Emptying of Prosperity”
March 31 – Abraham, Isaac, and Jesus, “What Kind of Sacrifice?”

Worship at 10 a.m.

We are still having worship this morning, but the roads are a bit icy in places, so please use caution when heading to church. Of course, if you don’t feel safe driving in this weather, you can join us online for the sermon during the 10 o’clock hour at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnPtvfPFyKlUT3_A-tUw6CA

And you can support the church financially by clicking the “Donate Online” button on the left side of our page or by texting your dollar amount to 417-283-8175.

Kids and Consent Class on Saturday, February 9

Kids and Consent Class on Saturday, February 9

It’s never too early to learn about consent! Though we often associate consent only with sexual assault, the truth is that it is an essential aspect of all relationships. People (even kids) have the right to set boundaries about their bodies, their possessions, and their actions, and we need to respect those boundaries. Me Too Springfield will be presenting this class in our fellowship hall on Saturday, February 9 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. In this class, parents (or grandparents, teachers, or anyone who loves kids) will learn how to teach their children about consent, body autonomy, communication, and self-worth. People of all ages (including children) are welcome!

New Sermon Series Begins This Sunday, January 20

abrahamJourney through the book of Genesis and learn about Abraham and his descendants as we take a look at some of these well known stories from a different perspective. The sermon series begins this Sunday and runs through February (with the exception of February 3 when our Youth Minister Reed Dressler will be preaching) and will invite you to wonder along with Emily as she explores the covenant God made with Abraham, the plight of Hagar, how Isaac felt when he realized the trip to the mountains of Moriah might be a one-way trip, whether Esau could forgive his brother Jacob for stealing his birthright, and the highly dysfunctional relationship between Joseph and his brothers.

  • January 20 God, Abraham and a Covenant (Genesis 15)
  • January 28 Hagar and Ishmael (Genesis 16 and 21)
  • February 10 Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22)
  • February 17 Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25, 27, 32 and 33)
  • February 24 Joseph and his Brothers (Genesis 37)