Yearly Archive for: "2014"
Home / 2014

Documentary Film Explores Biblical Response to Immigration

October 16, 2014

HOUSTONThe Stranger, a documentary film that looks at immigration from a biblical perspective, screened Tuesday at Pleasant Hill Ministries. The film highlights the stories of three families who are caught in our broken immigration system. It is available for download via

At a panel discussion following the screening, local evangelical leaders spoke about the immense human costs our immigration system exacts on churches, families and communities:

Dr. Steven Bezner, Senior Pastor, Houston Northwest Church:
“In a world filled with shrill tones and harsh words, it is more important than ever for the followers of Jesus to faithfully discuss, lead, and engage the important issues of our day. It is thrilling to see Christians working together on the issues of immigration. I’m excited about the possibilities if we work together.”

Pastor Harvey Clemons, Jr., Senior Pastor, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church:
“It is clear to those who are sensitive to human rights issues that there are systemic problems with our current immigration policy. The effect of this failed system impacts families, the economy and psyche of our nation, not to mention our relationship with the creator. For these reasons the faith community must be a light in the midst of the darkness that this policy has perpetuated. We at Pleasant Hill are honored to host the viewing of this film and invite those interested in understanding Scriptures call on this issue to join with us in a time of learning and dialogue.”

Graciela Saenz, Attorney, Saenz & Burkhardt, PLLC:
“Our God wants us to love our neighbor as ourselves. I begin with that premise and put myself in the shoes of those that seek something better in their future. God has blessed me with many opportunities to do this in my own life so I see myself over and over again in the eyes of those that are coming to our great country. I pray that God continues to open my eyes, my ears and my heart to my neighbors. This film seeks to show but a small amount of what God really has in store for us all to know and understand. We should be confident that He will provide us with the tools and wisdom to do what is right and good in His eyes.”


no images were found

ICYMI: Evangelical Immigration Table Ads Moved the Needle

September 8, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new study shows that Evangelical Immigration Table radio ads affected white evangelicals’ attitudes toward immigration reform.

As reported in the Christian Post, from February 2013 to February 2014, opposition to immigration reform among white Evangelicals decreased 15 percentage points, from 62 percent to 47 percent, in 16 states where ads ran. University of Pennsylvania political scientist Michele Margolis studied numbers from a sample of 2,000 adults who were interviewed in February 2013, September 2013 and February 2014.

In most of these same states, Table “mobilizers” have worked hard to engage evangelical pastors and evangelicals in the pews in a conversation about what the Bible says about immigrants and immigration, helping to reshape the Christian response.

The study compared attitudes in states without ads with those in the following states where ads aired: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

Evangelical Immigration Table principals are available for interviews regarding these findings. Please contact Beau Underwood, or Dan Gordon.

Local Pastors, Prominent Guests Engage on Immigration

Pastors Discuss Biblical Perspective at Northwest Nazarene Conference

August 27, 2014

NAMPA — Local pastors and professors joined guests from Colorado and Arizona today at Northwest Nazarene University for a pastors conference, “Engaging Immigration: A Ministry Leader’s Conference on Thinking Biblically about Immigration.”

The conference, hosted by the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) and the Evangelical Immigration Table, included a panel discussion on the economic and moral imperatives for action on immigration reform and a screening of the film The Stranger, which has screened more than 2,100 times in 45 states this summer.

The following are quotes from participants in today’s panel discussion:

Dr. Pete Crabb, Professor of Finance and Economics, Northwest Nazarene University:
“Economic theory and empirical evidence show that immigration is good for the U.S. and its workers. When the Idaho agricultural industry wants to hire workers to pick produce, the residency of those workers shouldn’t matter. Any time we prevent mutually beneficial transactions, we reduce competition and all its benefits to society.

“Research using state-level data shows that immigrants expand the economy’s productive capacity, stimulate new investment, and boost productivity. States with higher immigrant worker populations have higher rates of output per worker. If we want competitive markets for the things we buy and if we are going to advocate for free trade throughout the world, we must also support free trade in the labor market.”

Adam Estle, Center Director, Refugio Phoenix:
“It is tremendously important for churches and faith leaders to engage the issue of immigration the same way we should engage any social issue: through biblical and compassionate lenses. Hopefully, people in the pews will love and care for their immigrant neighbors in greater and great ways. When the time comes for Congress to re-engage in the effort to fix our broken immigration system, we pray for a tidal wave of support from the evangelical community that will compel Washington to listen and respond in a way that brings a just immigration reform to the president’s desk as soon as possible.”

Michelle Warren, Director of Advocacy & Policy Engagement, CCDA, Denver:
“Immigration affects people — native and foreign born. We as a country cannot continue to allow partisan politics to define what we should do and how we should do it. The citizenry, especially those who call themselves Christians, must lead this conversation in our churches and in our communities and lead our legislators so that we can both establish and enhance opportunities for everyone that will move our country forward.”

Dr. Burton Webb, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Northwest Nazarene University:
“Throughout human history people have migrated around the globe. So immigration is not a new issue. Thousands of years ago the scriptures and other wisdom texts urged people to care for the immigrant. As people of faith we need to read, remember, and redeem.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using #EngageImmigration and follow the film @thestrangerfilm.

Colorado & Nebraska Evangelical Leaders Tour Border Agencies

August 20, 2014

MCALLEN, TEXAS— On Friday, local Colorado and Nebraska faith leaders and public officials joined the Christian Community Development Association in McAllen to tour facilities that help process and meet the immediate needs of family units and unaccompanied minors crossing the border.

The faith leaders gained first-hand knowledge of how communities are working together to address the current humanitarian need, and joined a roundtable discussion with other local and national faith, law enforcement and public sector leaders after the tour to discuss how to support children coming to local communities.

The following quotes are from participants in Friday’s tours and roundtable discussion:

Debra Bartelson, Legislative Policy Analyst and Co-Chair, Denver Latino Commission, Denver, Colo.:
“After my time in McAllen seeing the border relief efforts first-hand, I am left with many questions. The issue is overwhelming, and I am reminded of something Mother Teresa said when faced with enormous need, ‘if you can’t feed the millions, then just feed one.’ We as civic and faith leaders must collaborate with each other to both identify existing needs and combine our resources to do what we can to help.”

Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association, Chicago, Ill.:
“A delegation of CCDA Board members, staff and members from across the nation traveled to McAllen, TX to get a first-hand look at the humanitarian crisis with the unaccompanied children that is impacting our southern border. Along with being moved by seeing the children, we were inspired by the compassionate response of church, city and community leaders. Like these leaders, we are committed to offering our support as CCDA.”

Susan Shepherd, Councilwoman, Denver City Council:
“My biggest take-away from my time spent at the border in McAllen was how compassionate the response was from all entities, including the public and non-profit sector and the faith community. I was inspired by their grace, strength & commitment under fire. Not one person complained. McAllen has set the bar very high. I hope that if Denver is chosen to receive some of the unaccompanied minors, that we too will rise above the endless squabbling over immigration issues and recognize that these are humans fleeing horrible conditions in their own countries and in desperate need of safety, basic life necessities and compassionate and respectful treatment.”

Dr. Lois Svoboda, Missions Committee, The Presbyterian Church of Fremont, Neb.:
“Being a part of the McAllen border trip, I was able to see first-hand what is happening with refugees crossing our border. What I witnessed was an amazing network of collaboration between city, faith, and law enforcement leaders working together to address the pressing need. The media, who constantly shares the negative, has all but left out what I saw and experienced. There was no hostility only people in leadership who had a welcoming attitude. A leader from the city of McAllen shared that any person who crosses the boundary of McAllen should be welcomed and not asked where they came from. My hope for my Nebraska community is to learn from them and take a step forward to work together. I don’t believe that politicians who comment perpetually on the negative will be able to offer us solutions. We need to start with the faith community and look to them for the moral leadership that they can offer.”

Michelle Warren, Director of Advocacy & Policy Engagement, CCDA; Colorado and Nebraska Coordinator, Evangelical Immigration Table, Denver, Colo.:
“The issues surrounding immigration and our borders continue to loom large. It is very apparent that we do not have a secure border problem in our country but rather a global migration problem. Seeing the border, hearing from local law enforcement, public sector officials and faith leaders all addressing the needs of those crossing the border was both inspiring and insightful. What we hear in the news is not reflective of what is actually taking place. The community network of care that exists in McAllen is that story that should be lifted up. People are working together to meet the needs of people; help is taking place seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform and #ccdaborder.

Letter Urges Congress: Protect Vulnerable Children, Respond with Funding

July 22, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.Today the Evangelical Immigration Table is sending a letter to Congress, urging representatives and Senators to preserve laws that protect children and to help respond to migrant children with increased funding.

The letter comes as Congress considers not only the president’s supplemental budget request to respond to children who have migrated to the U.S., but also changes to laws designed to protect victims of human trafficking.

“Evangelicals are guided by Jesus’ admonitions to welcome and protect children (Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:37, Luke 18:15-17),” the letter states. “As our nation responds to this humanitarian crisis, we are thankful for laws that protect children and provide for their needs. While our systems are currently stretched, our laws uphold basic child protection principles.

The letter goes on to express concern about the possible weakening of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), enacted in 2008 and reauthorized in 2013. “The TVPRA ensures that victims of trafficking are not only identified and screened properly but that traffickers are penalized and brought to justice,” the letter states.

The letter also calls on Congress to ensure adequate funding for agencies that work with vulnerable immigrants including children, refugees and victims of trafficking: “We urge you to provide the necessary resources and policy guidance to address the current crisis, and then hold

the Administration accountable for fulfilling its responsibilities under the law. Robust funding is needed … Funds must not simply be transferred from one vulnerable population to another.”

The full letter is available here. Below are quotes from Table leaders regarding the letter:

Stephan Bauman, President, World Relief:
“Political expediency should not trump good policy. Many evangelicals worked hard to support the TVPRA in 2008 and in 2012 so to hear about potential rollbacks in protections for unaccompanied children is troubling. Urgent resources are needed to provide care for unaccompanied children, and Congress should support such funding needs without resorting to unnecessary changes in law that will weaken protections for children and be difficult to gain back if passed.

Dr. Russell Moore, President, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission:
“The refugee situation at the border is a moral crisis. There are no easy fixes, but we must start by seeing these children as what they are: loved by God and created in his image. We need to respond to this crisis in a way that honors both human dignity and national security.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“Children, created in God’s image, should never be unaccompanied, nor should they be exploited, trafficked or sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. I believe it is wrong for parents to send children to the U.S. border when the primary protective firewall for these children lies in a loving Christ filled home where faith, family and education stand prevalent. Correspondingly, as a nation and as people of faith, we must serve, heal and minister to those that have arrived in our nation because theirs, according to Jesus, is the kingdom of heaven.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“The evangelical community has a moral and biblical commitment to protect the most vulnerable. Ensuring due process for these displaced children fleeing violence, and economic deprivation is part of our Christian witness. Yelling at defenseless children and women is not the way forward.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform.

ICYMI: Evangelical Leaders Call for Compassion at Border

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the U.S. government considers further responses to Central American children along our borders, evangelical leaders are urging a compassionate and just response.

“As a former Texan, my heart goes to the border of Texas. As a born-again Christian, the Gospel of Jesus Christ calls me to compassionate action for those who are suffering right now as a result of the immigration crisis, especially the children,” wrote Ronnie Floyd, President of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of the multi-campus Cross Church in northwest Arkansas. His Friday Baptist Press op-ed continues, “This is an emergency situation that requires the best of each of us in America … The Gospel of Jesus Christ moves me to call on all of us to demonstrate compassionate action toward the immigrant.”

And Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, wrote Sunday on his blog, “The gospel doesn’t fill in for us on the details on how we can simultaneously balance border security and respect for human life in this case. But the gospel does tell us that our instinct ought to be one of compassion toward those in need, not disgust or anger.” (Also posted in Spanish.)

Meanwhile, Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition and Pastor of The Lamb’s Church in New York, wrote Tuesday in TIME, “Legislative inaction has too high a cost. And when [immigrants] come to our shores seeking refuge from the tempest-tossed realities of violence and poverty, we cannot allow screaming crowds to be the voice of who we are as a people.”

Last but not least, Félix Cabrera, Hispanic pastor at Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, wrote Friday on the influential site The Gospel Coalition, “As a church, we are not called to condemn or to despise these children, even if they have broken the law. From my humble point of view, these children should be treated as refugees. For those of us who call ourselves Christians, the Bible tells us to welcome the stranger.” (Also available in Spanish.)

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform.

Evangelical Leaders to House Members: ‘We’re Not Going Anywhere’ on Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 24, 2014 — The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention hosted a screening of The Stranger, a documentary film that explores immigration from a distinctly Christian perspective, for congressional staff on Capitol Hill today.

More than 1,250 screenings in 40 states have been scheduled since the June 4 premiere of The Stranger. Following today’s screening, Dr. Barrett Duke, Vice President of Public Policy and Research for the ERLC, made the following statement:

“The faith community addresses this question from the moral perspective. We’re saying, let’s legalize these folks because they’re being abused, children are living in fear, and people are not living up to their full potential. The Cantor loss doesn’t make the need for immigration reform any less urgent, it doesn’t change the Bible’s thousands of years of guidance on immigration.

“We’re beyond the point of having to win this on principle or policy. We’re now just at the point of politics. We’re not going anywhere. The Southern Baptist Convention is going to continue to call for immigration reform until we get this done.”

Dr. Duke was joined by local and national evangelical leaders for a discussion on the moral imperatives for reform. They emphasized that for evangelicals, reform remains urgent:

Jon Ashley, Senior Pastor, The Presbyterian Church, Fremont, Neb.:
“I live and pastor in a community where immigration has really had an impact and has been a divisive issue. I’ve seen lives hurt, families torn apart, kids afraid that their parents aren’t going to be there when they come home from school. As a pastor my heart is aligned with God’s call to welcome the stranger and help those that are being hurt. Whatever the political climate is, the need for reform is still there. It just needs to get done.”

Pastor Patty Pell, Community Impact Pastor, Christ Community Church, Greeley, Colo.:
“I’ve spent a lot of time studying the legal codes of the Old Testament, which really show God’s heart for immigrant. Today, Christians are stuck between wanting to be law-abiding and caring for people, and immigrants are stuck there as well. The only way out is to reform the system. Someone has to decide to be courageous and do something because the public wants our members of Congress to act.”

Jenny Yang, Vice President of Advocacy and Policy, World Relief:
“Pastors are the ones dealing with the brokenness of the system in families in our local communities. Faith leaders bring a moral voice, but they also bring the stories of dealing with the impact of our broken system. The House is in a special position right now to act on reform. And now the debate isn’t a policy question, it’s a matter of when. There is a real urgency to get this done, and if we don’t, the brokenness in our communities is going to continue and is going to deepen.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform and follow the film @thestrangerfilm.


Evangelical Leaders Announce Letter Pressing House Leadership for Action

**For a recording of today’s press call, click here.**

WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 12, 2014 — National and local evangelical leaders joined a press call today to announce the release of a letter to House leadership.

In the letter, the Evangelical Immigration Table urges Congress to move forward with votes on broad immigration reform this summer — in spite of Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary defeat.

Today also marks the two-year anniversary of the Table’s launch. With the letter and other efforts this summer, leaders are telling Congress that it’s time to decide whether and how immigration reform rooted in biblical values will move forward.

The call comes amid more than 800 nationwide screenings of The Stranger, which highlights the stories of three families caught in our broken immigration system.

The following are quotes from speakers on today’s call:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“The overdue reform of our nation’s immigration laws should not depend on a limited number of one-party voters in one district of one state on one day. Let’s ask all of Congress to vote for all of America. If now is not the right time for immigration reform, when is?  Is Congress waiting for 2020, 2040, or would 2014 be best for America?”

James Heyward, Pastor, Calvary Church of the Nazarene, Annandale, Va.; resident of Majority Leader Cantor’s district:
“I’m here to say that the time to act is now. I live in a community where we see the effects of bad immigration policy all the time. I believe this is our opportunity to put this before Congress, put this up for a vote and pass commonsense reform this summer. I think this is not a political ball we play with. This is about people, and as evangelicals we care about people. I’m excited about the political opportunity I think we have.

“As a person who lives in Cantor’s district, we were not as surprised by the results of the primary. We felt that his not connecting on this particular issue and going back and forth on it hurt him. People like Lindsey Graham who clearly stood for immigration reform handily won their primaries.”

Bill Robinson, Interim President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities; President Emeritus, Whitworth University, Spokane, Wash., in Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers’ district:
“As an association of Christian higher education institutions, our colleges and universities are caught in the middle of our broken immigration system. Thousands of high school graduates who are otherwise qualified, and are often some of the most driven and motivated students, can’t afford to go to college because of their legal status, even though they were brought to the United States through no fault of their own. Our institutions are doing everything they can to make it possible for these students to go to college, but we can’t do it alone. We need Congress to act and fix our broken immigration system to help these students and their families, our colleges and universities, and our country.”

Monserrate Salas, Pastor, Iglesia Hispana Emmanuel/Emmanuel Hispanic Church, Springfield, Ohio, in Speaker Boehner’s District:
“This is not about politics, it’s about people. As Christians, we are called to love people, to help people. My husband and I pastor a church that is Hispanic and 85 percent immigrant, and it’s sad to see families torn apart, parents whisked away, leaving children abandoned and not knowing when or if their parents are coming back. People come here for work, to better their lives and those of their family. They come to pursue the American dream. We need reform and we need it now.”

Tony Suarez, Vice President of Chapters, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“While members of the House have mulled over what direction to take in passing immigration reform these past years, the NHCLC and our president, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, provided a covering of prayer and support. It appears that some in leadership do not comprehend the urgency of the moment. Rev. Rodriguez has said, ‘It takes faith to move mountains, conviction to speak truth, courage to do justice and love to change the world. Immigration reform will require all of the above.’ Due to the urgency of the moment and the lack of progress in the House of Representatives, we announced this week that we call on Hispanic Evangelicals not to support candidates that do not support commonsense immigration reform.”

Jenny Yang, Vice President of Advocacy and Policy, World Relief:
“The politics of passing immigration reform may have changed this past week, but the moral urgency of passing reform has not. Principled stances on immigration reform are what the American people, including many evangelicals, want from their elected officials. It’s time for the House of Representatives to do their job and for House leadership to make a decision on whether to move forward with immigration this summer or not. If they do move forward, they will see support from many in the evangelical community who are dealing with the consequences of broken families within a broken system every day.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform.

Documentary Explores Biblical Response to Immigration

‘The Stranger’ to Premiere in Tampa and Orlando Tonight

**For a recording of today’s call click here.**

ORLANDO, JUNE 11, 2014 — Local evangelical leaders joined a press call today previewing local Orlando and Tampa screenings of The Stranger, a documentary film that highlights the biblical call to welcome the stranger and explore immigration reform from a distinctly Christian perspective.

More than 1,000 attendees are expected at each of the two screenings at 7 p.m. tonight. The Tampa and Orlando screenings will be hosted by the Evangelical Immigration Table and the National Latino Evangelical Coalition. The film highlights the moral imperatives for reform, including the immense human costs our current system exacts on our churches, our families and our communities.

The film is available for download at Across the country, more than 700 screenings have been scheduled in more than 30 states.

On the call, speakers stressed that reform remains urgent this year urged Congress to move forward in spite of Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary defeat. The following are quotes from speakers on today’s call:

Rev. Evelyn Chaparro, Spanish Pastor, The River Church, Brandon:
“There are too many people that do not understand the suffering of the immigrant. I believe this movie will open a window to the hearts of many. Many who will want to help and will finally see that we have to do the right thing and help the immigrant with reform that will make sense in the eyes of God and to this country.”

Rev. Javier Figueroa, President, Pastors Association of Kissimmee:
“Only Congress can provide lasting solutions, and it must. While The Stranger helps us understand the problems created by the status quo, only Congress can add a sustainable solution. Stories like those featured in this film will continue to proliferate until our leaders take action. Evangelicals expect Congress to pass commonsense immigration reform this year.”

 Rev. Joel Hunter, Senior Pastor, Northland Church, Longwood:
“Immigration reform is a must for Florida. A large portion of our state population is particularly hurt by a broken immigration system, and the millions of evangelicals who live here increasingly know, and want to help, the families that live in the shadows of fear and separation.”

Rev. Lynn Nichols, Senior Pastor, Tampa First Church of the Nazarene:
“Immigration has become a political football kicked around in order to score points for politicians. Or it has become the issue to blame people’s financial woes on. What it needs to become is personal. Immigrants are people God loves, and we need to begin responding to them the way God does and asks us to in His Word. The Stranger tells the stories of real people and the real need for immigration reform.”

Dr. Oliver Phillips, Executive Director, Connexion Empowerment Center Inc. (CECI), Orlando:
“The present system is both inequitable and inadequate. The genius of America is that we solve problems, and there is no more pressing issue for us than to repair and reform the present system. This reform must be comprehensive in nature. It must be sensitive to those who have been caught in long lines awaiting a response from the legal channels. It must be smart enough to capitalize on the rich talent that has contributed to the labor pool that guarantees affordable houses and low prices in the grocery stores. It must be compassionate enough to empathize with the deteriorating living conditions from which undocumented immigrants come. It must be generous enough to demand of us that we remember that we are all immigrants.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“Evangelicals sustain an unwavering commitment to immigration reform. It’s the right thing to do. The Stranger film puts in front of our eyes the lamentable human costs of inaction. Now is the time to act.”

Film Screenings Information:

WHEN:         Wednesday, June 11
                          Both Screenings: 7 p.m. EDT

WHERE:       Tampa Screening:
                           Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal M.I.
5800 North Church Avenue

Orlando Screening:
                          Iglesia El Calvario
2500 West Oak Ridge Road

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform and follow the film @thestrangerfilm.


page  1  of  6
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search