ICYMI: Evangelicals’ Resounding Call for Immigration Reform

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ICYMI: Evangelicals’ Resounding Call for Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 10, 2013 — With Congress back in town and immigration-reform legislation expected soon, a front-page article in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal covers the increasing support among evangelical Christians for bipartisan immigration reform that includes steps toward earned citizenship — a “dramatic shift” from previous debates, when evangelicals stayed on the sidelines.

In addition, the new cover story in TIME magazine (April 15 edition) focuses on just one reason evangelicals have reconsidered their immigrant neighbors: For evangelicals, “they” are increasingly “us.” Latino churches make up a key and growing component of evangelical churches in the U.S. In a post about the article, writer Elizabeth Dias cites the New Life Covenant Church in Chicago. In 2000, all of the church’s 100 attendees were Spanish speakers; now its 17,000 members can choose from 11 services, nine of which are in English.

The increased importance of Latino evangelicals to American churches and the increasingly outspoken support among white evangelicals, both in the pulpit and in the pews, for immigration reform comes as evangelical leaders prepare to share their support in person with congressional leaders in Washington. On April 17, the Evangelical Immigration Table expects hundreds of participants for its Day of Prayer and Action, which will send a clear message to Congress: Support for commonsense reform is strong within the evangelical community, and it is time to move forward.

The Evangelical Immigration Table also has run a radio ad campaign on Christian radio in five key states: Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. In the ads, local pastors from each state encourage listeners to support immigration reform based on Table principles.

The message should be clear to lawmakers in both parties: The time has come for Congress to engage in the kind of respectful debate that we’ve seen in churches all over the country. These conversations are changing hearts and minds in the pews, and it is time for Congress to work together to pass just immigration reform that includes a road to earned citizenship.

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A media advisory for the Evangelical Immigration Table’s April 17 Day of Prayer and Action follows.

Hundreds of Evangelicals to Gather in D.C. for Day of Prayer and Action

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On April 17, hundreds of megachurch pastors, denominational leaders, heads of evangelical organizations and other leaders will gather in Washington for the “Evangelical Day of Prayer and Action on Immigration Reform.

The Senate and the House of Representatives are expected to introduce immigration reform legislation in the next few days, and lawmakers will hear a unified evangelical voice proclaiming a biblical vision for immigration reform that respects the rule of law, reunites families and upholds human dignity.

The Evangelical Day of Prayer and Action will feature a Capitol Hill press conference, worship services and meetings with legislators to support legislation that reflects Christian values and builds the common good.

WHAT: Evangelical Immigration Table Day of Prayer and Action on Capitol Hill

WHO: Confirmed speakers include:
•    Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, Ill.
•    Dr. David Uth, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church Orlando
•    Dr. David Anderson, Founder and Senior Pastor, Bridgeway Community Church, Columbia, Md.
•    Lee de Leon, Executive Pastor, Templo Calvario Church, Orange County, Calif.
•    Stephan Bauman, President and CEO, World Relief
•    Rev. David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World
•    Tim Goeglein, Vice President for External Relations, Focus on the Family
•    Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition
•    Sandra Van Opstal, Director of Worship, Urbana Mission Convention, will lead worship.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 17, 2013, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Daylong events will include a press conference, meetings with members of Congress and their staffs, and worship services.

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