Synod 2010 Recommendations on Immigration

VIII. Recommendations

A. That synod grant the privilege of the floor to Mrs. Teresa Renkema, chair; Mr. Chris Pullenayegem, reporter; and Dr. Scott E. Hoezee, adviser, when the report on the migration of workers is discussed.

B. That synod recommend this report to the churches for study and discussion regarding issues surrounding the immigration of workers.


Biblical Affirmations

C. That synod declare that the biblical teachings and principles from both the Old and New Testaments as summarized in this report properly inform and guide the church’s ministry to both status or non-status immigrant people, and that they affirm the following:

  1. All people are created in the image of God and are to be treated as such regardless of circumstances under which the church encounters individuals or of a given person’s race, background, or legal status.
  2. God’s Word consistently directs the people of God to be welcoming toward the strangers in their midst and to extend special care to those most vulnerable to social or economic conditions that threaten their ability to survive.
  3. The church of Jesus Christ welcomes all who profess faith in him as their Lord and Savior and who desire to live for him. God has no favorites—true faith in Jesus Christ is the only condition of membership in the church.
  4. God’s Word calls upon believers to respect the governing authorities and the laws of the state. However, citizenship in the kingdom of God obligates believers to the highest law of love for God and neighbor above all, and the exercise of this love should lead believers to advocate for laws that will mandate the just and humane treatment of immigrant peoples.


Education and Awareness

D. That synod instruct the Board of Trustees to encourage the Office of Race Relations to engage in, as a priority, a campaign to educate and raise crosscultural sensitivity across our denomination and provide tools and resources to denominational agencies, classes, and local churches to deal with crosscultural conflict that may arise from time to time.

E. That synod instruct the BOT to encourage the CRC’s relevant agencies to propose ways and to develop resources that will help in educating the churches and Christian schools by engaging in thoughtful study and discussion of the economic, political, social, and spiritual issues involved in the church’s view of, and ministry outreach to, immigrant people.

F. That synod encourage local churches to educate their membership about the socioeconomic, political, and security issues facing immigrants and newcomers and equip them to respond in love and concern to these people groups that God is bringing into our nations.

Ground: The economic realities surrounding immigration and the presence of millions of documented and undocumented immigrants in the United States and Canada have created ongoing circumstances that already exist in many communities in which the church seeks to do ministry. This fact compels church members to educate themselves on the relevant issues already being faced by their various communities.


Advocacy and Justice

G. That synod instruct the Board of Trustees to encourage the Office of Social Justice and Hunger Action and the Canadian Committee for Contact with the Government, in collaboration with their denominational and nondenominational partners, to engage in, as a priority, policy development and advocacy strategies that will lead to immigration reform and the enactment of fair, just, and equitable laws regarding those without status in Canada and the United States.

H. That synod encourage congregations and their individual members to speak out against, and seek to reform, laws and practices concerning the treatment of immigrants that appear to be unduly harsh or unjust.

I. That synod, mindful of the need for governments to create and enforce laws that protect the security and integrity of a given nation’s borders, nevertheless encourage congregations and church members to support the need for comprehensive immigration reform in ways that will reduce the number of people without status and/or non-status workers and provide increased opportunities for immigrants to gain legal status within the nation.

J. That synod encourage congregations to advocate on behalf of those suffering in prison on account of their lack of status to ensure a more just and dignified process in dealing with them while also advocating for more humane treatment of those who are unfortunate enough to be imprisoned.

Ground: The governments of both the United States and Canada have been struggling with comprehensive immigration reform for years, recognizing that current policies are insufficient to deal with contemporary aspects of immigration. The CRC can be of service to these governments by speaking up for the just treatment of all people as part of the larger process to reform current laws and policies.

K. That synod urge the Christian Reformed Church, through its assemblies and agencies, to affirm the need to reach out in hospitality and compassion to immigrant people and that synod further encourage churches to display this ministry concern through actions that include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Prayerful study and discussion of issues related to the causes that motivate people to immigrate to other lands so as to deepen understanding of the circumstances under which many people live.
  2. Mindful attention to the plight of both documented workers and people without status and to reach out in love to those who seek assistance for themselves and for their children in terms of financial assistance, food, clothing, and shelter.

Ground: Scripture calls us to be mindful of the plight of aliens and strangers, offering compassion and love in Christ’s name to those who find themselves marginalized and in need.