Browse category by IMMIGRATION
DIGNITY AND WORTH OF PERSONS

DIGNITY AND WORTH OF PERSONS

May 12, 2019 By dwayman

At the Spring meeting of the Board of Administration of the FMCUSA, the Book of Discipline article ¶3221 was modified due to the work of three scholars of the FMC:  Dr. Ed Song, Dr. Helen Rhee and Pastor Kate Wallace-Nunneley.  Writing three separate resolutions to expand the article on the Worth of Persons, the SCOD took their work and combined them with the present article and changed the name to the DIGNITY and Worth of Persons.

This is our new article for the 2019 Book of Discipline:

¶3221           Dignity and Worth of Persons

We are committed to the dignity and worth of all humans regardless of gender, race, color, or any other distinctions (Acts 10:34-35) and will respect them as persons made in the image of God (Genesis1:26-27) and redeemed by Christ’s death and resurrection.

The  Old  Testament  law  commands  such  respect  (Deuteronomy 5:11-21). Jesus summarized this law as love for God and neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40). He ministered to all without distinction and His death on the cross was for all (John 3:16; Romans 5:8).

We are therefore pledged to active concern whenever human beings are demeaned, abused, depersonalized, enslaved or subjected to demonic forces in the world, whether by individuals or institutions (Galatians 3:28; Mark 2:27; 1 Timothy 1:8-10). We are committed to give meaning and significance to every person by God’s help. Remembering our tendency to be prejudicial,

REAL MEN SHIELD THE DEFENSELESS AND PROTECT FAMILIES

REAL MEN SHIELD THE DEFENSELESS AND PROTECT FAMILIES

June 29, 2018 By

We often hear our culture remind men to protect their own family.  Here Mark Adams, Superintendent of the Sierra Pacific Conference of the Free Methodist Church, reminds us that Christians protect and care for all families, not only his own.  Written for Father’s Day it speaks to men, however the message is for all Christians, men and women.

Supt. Mark Adams

June, 2018

Today is Father’s Day.  I am so proud of all four of my sons.  They are Lars, Jake, Alex and Felix.  Each are young men with sharp minds, quick wits, compassionate hearts and willing to sacrifice much to benefit others.  Three are fathers themselves, and really great dads at that!  I could not be a happier dad.  So, sons, remember – real men shield the defenseless and protect families.

Consequently, I must say something about the current American implementation of a policy to tear apart families as an immigration deterrent.  I am disheartened as a Christian father that the policy is being defended by national spokespersons (Jeff Sessions and Sarah Sanders) through biblical texts.  On a personal identity level (I have identified as an “evangelical Christian”) I am dismayed that over the past few years it seems that evangelical Christianity as a whole is becoming enmeshed with a political agenda that places nationalistic views ahead global Christian concerns, even promoting initiatives that seem to dehumanize others.

THE BIBLICAL STORY IS A MIGRATION STORY

THE BIBLICAL STORY IS A MIGRATION STORY

June 28, 2018 By

Scripture is inspired for all people in all places in all times calling us to a higher response than this world even knows.  Here Rev. Julia Matallana-Freedman, who in 2018 received her Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity and was ordained Elder in the Free Methodist Church in Southern California, provides a thoughtful guidance to which each of us are called by God to respond as the church – the called-out-ones.

Rev. Matallana-Freedman

June 2018

So much about our faith as North American Christians is discursive. Ultimately the words we use and the interpretive choices we make matter because our actions unfurl alongside our discursive choices. The Christian ethicist, Stanley Hauerwas, frames it this way:

“The most creative social strategy we have to offer is the church. Here we show the world a manner of life the world can never achieve through social coercion or governmental action. We Serve the world by showing it something that it is not, namely, a place where God is forming a family out of strangers.” (Resident Aliens, 39).

We know there are many FM leaders across the nation already actively involved in refugee ministries and initiatives. This post embodies our striving for the centering of this ongoing work and to lift up the stories of FM Churches on the borderlands and in the trenches of this ongoing moral corruption. This reflection is searching for the increase of unlikely voices coupled with divine creativity to do God’s work faithfully.

ROMANS 13 and ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS

ROMANS 13 and ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS

June 23, 2018 By

SUBMITTING TO AUTHORITY

By Bishop David Kendall – June 2018

Over the weekend, the United States Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, cited the Apostle Paul as a form of support for our government’s draconian “no tolerance” policy that separates children from their parents should the parents illegally enter the U.S.  Aside from the unjust practice of punishing innocent children for alleged crimes of their parents, Romans 13 has been woefully misappropriated to justify what is arguably the opposite of Paul’s intent in this celebrated chapter.  That is my focus in what follows.

[Since this will be longer than a more typical post here are the conclusions which I draw.  First, Romans 13 cannot be used legitimately to support any particular governmental policy or program, at any time.  Second, nor should it be read as a command for Jesus-followers to support the government regardless of its policies.  Third, it is a reminder that government, as such, is good but not absolute; and that leaders are accountable and will answer to God, if to no one else.  And, fourth, followers of Jesus have a mission to accomplish with or without the assistance of government, and they are the people called and equipped to demonstrate the good that all governments seek as they give themselves to love.  Read on to see why I make such conclusions.]

Before observing what the Apostle Paul says in this highly celebrated text on the Christian’s duty to governing authorities,

WELCOMING THE STRANGER:  Faith Communities and Immigration

WELCOMING THE STRANGER: Faith Communities and Immigration

January 7, 2018 By

In a recent article, Alexia Salvatierra, who is an adjunct professor at Fuller Seminary and an immigration activist, wrote a thorough history of the Biblical and American experience with immigration, the sanctuary movement, and current realities.  It is a great resource, but also a call to participate in the care of those who are being harmed.  Comparing the modern sanctuary movement with the “Cities of Refuge” and the “Underground Railroad” the call focuses on the center of Free Methodist biblical commitment and our own history of abolitionist action.

In part she writes:

“In the thirty-fifth chapter of the Book of Numbers in the Hebrew Bible, the writer lays out a remedy for a social and legal problem. In ancient Israel, the penalty for murder was death, “a life for a life.” Family members of the slain person normally carry out the sentence.  However, the writers of Numbers recognized that it would not be fair for accidental killers to receive the same punishment as those who kill intentionally. Raging family members could not be expected to stop midstream and investigate; the community is instructed to create cities of refuge where the accused can be kept safe until they can receive a fair hearing. The cities of refuge are the solution for people who committed a crime and received an unfair penalty.

This ancient remedy is the root of the sanctuary church tradition. Since the fourth century in England, churches have offered protection and shelter to those accused of a crime but who would be likely to be punished unfairly if left unprotected.

DEPRESSION ERA MEXICAN DEPORTATIONS – 1930’s

DEPRESSION ERA MEXICAN DEPORTATIONS – 1930’s

September 10, 2017 By

This is the official explanation (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) of the events during the 1930’s when hundreds of thousands of Mexican people were coerced into returning to Mexico.  The reasons were racist and economic.  It reveals the complexity of the situation in which the “official proceedings” were responsible for only a small portion of those who were coerced to leave.  The majority left out of fear due to the threats they received.  You can read this official report here.

The official explanation says in part:

“In most cases, however, no federal record exists for these departures. This is because, while an estimated 400,000 to 1 million Mexicans and Mexican-Americans left the US for Mexico during the Depression, relatively few of them were expelled under formal INS-directed removal proceedings. The majority returned to Mexico by their own decision or through officially voluntary – though often coercive – repatriation programs directed by state and local governments and charitable aid agencies.

INS did increase its deportation efforts during the 1930s and on several occasions the agency co-operated with local governments who sought to remove Mexicans from their jurisdictions. These actions understandably contributed to the current belief that the INS led a massive repatriation program. In reality, INS’s role in the removal process was somewhat more complex.

In1930, as the extent of the Depression became more clear some Americans accused Mexicans, as well as other aliens, of holding jobs needed by U.S.

BT Roberts OPEN OPPOSITION TO ALL WRONG and INJUSTICE

BT Roberts OPEN OPPOSITION TO ALL WRONG and INJUSTICE

April 5, 2017 By

In 1860 our Free Methodist founder, Benjamin Titus Roberts, wrote in the April EARNEST CHRISTIAN that:

Open opposition to all wrong and injustice is another element of Scriptural righteousness. Many who will not do wrong themselves will countenance it, at least indirectly, in others. This is usually the first step in a loss of virtue. They who, for the sake of party interest, personal relationship, or any other cause, is silent when they should reprove, will soon apologize for, then justify, then approve, and, if occasion serves, perpetuate the wrong from which, at first, their moral sensibilities revolted. 

Often as we live our blessed lives due to Christ’s work in us, we can live in that blessing without speaking out against the injustice and wrong so prevalent in our day.  These convicting words, written 157 years ago, remind us that Christ calls  us to an active participation in bringing justice and mercy to our world.

Our 2015 Free Methodist Book of Discipline says it this way:

¶3221       Worth of Persons

We are committed to the worth of all humans regardless of gender, race, color, or any other distinctions (Acts 10:34-35) and will respect them as persons made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) and redeemed by Christ’s death and resurrection.

The  Old  Testament  law  commands  such  respect  (Deuteronomy 5:11-21). Jesus summarized this law as love for God and neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40).

IMMIGRATION – LOCAL CHURCH

IMMIGRATION – LOCAL CHURCH

April 4, 2017 By

Our congregation on the Westside of Santa Barbara is blessed to be bi-cultural and bi-lingual.  This congregation has resources for all churches during this time of fear and anxiety about immigration.

In a recent report to the conference leadership team, pastor Rich Sander wrote:

 Pueblo FMC partnered with the Trinity Episcopal church to bring a forum to Santa Barbara regarding the Sanctuary movement and practical next steps for congregations. In SB, we’re meeting again this coming Wednesday as we form an inter-faith coalition that stands with the immigrant and refugee. Below is an overview of what we learned at the forum from speaker Alexia Salvatierra. First, I wanted to reiterate that what we have learned is that its more important for us to be in the work of “changing hearts and minds” than going full-steam-ahead on protests, declaring sanctuary, and/or housing immigrants/refugees. While all of the latter are important, chances are that they are much less needed than the former. Our main goal is to lower anxiety. Easy ways to do that are found in the web site. I’ll go over the documents and their usefulness: 1) Rights/Derechos – One of the main ways we can help immigrants and refugees is for them to know their basic human rights as well as the rights that are afforded to them with regard to arrest and/or entrance into their homes. This card is easy to print out and laminate; anyone can use it when they are being questioned, arrested,
ASSISTING IN IMMIGRATION

ASSISTING IN IMMIGRATION

April 1, 2017 By

There are those who think we should not assist our people who need legal help in their immigration.  However, the love of Christ compels us to help those who are in need.  It is explained this way by Larry Roberts:

“The Free Methodist Church – USA is joining 14 other evangelical denominations to form the Immigration Alliance —a national effort that equips local churches to provide legal services to under-resourced immigrants.

“There is clearly a deep need and a demand for these services,” FMCUSA Chief Operating Officer Larry Roberts said. “Because these services are of such high importance to those who need them, this is a powerful opportunity to bless those immigrants amongst us and introduce them to our churches and our Savior through the relationships that can be built in this process.”

The Immigration Alliance launched Tuesday, Oct. 21, as a coalition of evangelical denominations — including the Free Methodist Church – USA and fellow Wesleyan Holiness groups such as the Church of the Nazarene and the Wesleyan Church — that represent more than 28,500 congregations. The alliance is committed to multiplying the number of sites across the country providing low-cost, high-quality immigrant legal services over the next three years.

With more than 22 million foreign-born, noncitizens in the United States – and with only 12,000 private immigration attorneys and 2,800 nonprofit immigration attorneys and accredited staff in the United States – the need for trustworthy, authorized legal services has never been greater.

La Postura de la Iglesia Metodista Libre sobre Inmigración

La Postura de la Iglesia Metodista Libre sobre Inmigración

March 28, 2017 By

in English

Comisión de Estudio Doctrinal (SCOD 2013) Obispo David Roller y Dr. Bruce Cromwell

Al acercarnos al tema de la inmigración nos damos cuenta de una tensión fundamental entre nuestro deseo de cuidar a todas las personas y nuestro deseo de respeto el derecho de los gobiernos de establecer leyes y de mantener una política económica. Ambos son impulsos legítimos, pero ambos deseos están sujetos a los principios de Dios extraídos de la narración bíblica. Si, como sugeriremos a continuación, el mandato a cuidar a las personas se halla en una categoría diferente y superior al derecho del gobierno de restringir la inmigración, entonces monitoreamos las leyes del gobierno que crean fricción con el mandato de cuidar a las personas (ver “A, “B” y “E” de 2011 Libro de Disciplina ¶ 3221, edición de 2015) y abogamos para cambiar tanto nuestras acciones como nuestras leyes (“C” y “D” del mismo párrafo).

Las leyes de inmigración están íntimamente relacionadas con la ciudadanía (solamente los no ciudadanos están sujetos a las leyes de inmigración) y la ciudadanía es un concepto del gobierno basado, a su vez, en las realidades del nacimiento. Las dos realidades de nacimiento opuestas como bases legítimas de la ciudadanía son “Jus Soli” (derecho a la ciudadanía del suelo, es decir, por derecho de nacimiento) y “Jus Sanguinis” (derecho de la sangre, es decir por los padres). En el primero, la ciudadanía se basa en el lugar de nacimiento y en el segundo se basa en la ciudadanía de los padres.