Personal Message from Pastor David J. Risendal
Re; U. S. Immigration Policy
January 29, 2017
I am aware that among Saint Peter members and supporters there are many political perspectives — some of them quite strong. I have some of my own. But we all do our best to leave them behind us when we gather here for worship on Sunday mornings. Today I want to speak with you about a political issue. But it is one that transcends partisan politics. It is an issue where our Lutheran tradition disagrees with actions reported to have been taken by some of our elected officials in Washington D.C.
Lutherans have a long history of working with refugee resettlement. (In fact, Saint Peter Lutheran Church has sponsored refugee families in the past.) We do so with the understanding that we have a duty to provide a safe place for those who are endangered in their own homelands. As citizens of this nation, we can agree or disagree on a variety of immigration policies. But when it comes to those seeking refuge from violence — especially state-sponsored violence — the scale tips towards justice and compassion.
I am personally concerned about reports that our country is scaling back its commitment to offer safe refuge to those who are fleeing violence in their home countries. In a time when unprecedented numbers of refugees are displaced and on the move, we need our country to lead, not abandon, the effort to find safe places for them to settle.
I won’t presume to tell you exactly how to respond to this situation. But I will ask you to be informed. Study our Lutheran positions about refugees. Be aware of policies proposed by federal and state policy setters and lawmakers. And be in touch with your elected officials. [https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials] They do pay attention.
We serve a Lord who spent the first three years of his life as a political refugee in Egypt. His ancestors did the same, as they sought refuge from a devastating famine. Our Lutheran commitment to caring for refugees has been supported for many generations by people from all across the political spectrum. As our country considers “shaking things up” and the possibility of making major changes in how we organize ourselves as a nation, it will be important for faithful people to be educated, informed and involved. Please join me in doing so.
Recommended Web Links
ELCA Action Center
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Lutheran Family Services, Rocky Mountains; Refugee and Asylee Programs
Lutheran Advocacy Ministry, Colorado
The Lutheran Church on Refugee / Asylee Issues
– On Refugee : Asylee Issues, from Pastor Dave