One of the highlights of 2009 was being part of a 20-member, emerging leader cohort within CCDA (Christian Community Development Association). One of the tasks we were given was to debate/discuss comprehensive immigration reform and to correspondingly write up a “posture” statement on behalf of CCDA. We were quick to recognize that there were a variety of viewpoints of how legislation should change to reflect the reform, but did agree that how we approached the topic was something we could develop uniformity around. After much debate and discussion we crafted the following posture statement:
On January 26th 2010 CCDA leaders from across the country gathered in Phoenix, AZ for a day of witness and action to stand in solidarity with Neighborhood Ministries and make a public stance on the critical justice and human rights issues surrounding immigration. Additionally, five satellite events hosted by leaders within the CCDA movement took place. As a result of these events, our eyes were opened to the needs surrounding this important issue.
12 million undocumented immigrants live in our country today. They are our neighbors and friends. As Christian leaders within CCDA who desire to love justice, show mercy and walk humbly with God, we are compelled to search our hearts and our theology to see what we can do to alleviate any injustices that revolve around this delicate issue.
As theologians we agree:
- That all people are made in the image of God and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
- That as Christians we have a responsibility to love and show compassion for the stranger among us.
- That immigrants are our neighbors, both literally and figuratively, and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and show mercy to neighbors in need.
- In the rule of law and also that Christians are to be a voice within our democracy for just laws that protect all people, especially the vulnerable.
As an association we are diverse and our diversity enables us to refine our thinking on numerous fronts, forging for us a strength that we all hold dear. Kingdom servants must not stop at awareness but must move forward in a unified struggle toward the alleviation of injustice. John Perkins has stated that, “immigration is the civil rights issue of the moment.” With that in our view, we must not shrink back from engaging in this very important debate.
We call on the CCDA movement to pursue this call to action:
- Prayerfully seek God’s guidance on immigration reform and cultivate honest and open dialogue on the issue amongst CCDA members and other stakeholders locally and nationally
- Seek ways to engage the immigrant community, in particular those who are undocumented by actively pursuing relationships with immigrant congregations as well as specifically calling our churches and ministries “immigrant friendly.”
- Explore and understand policy options, discerning which options would have the most effective impact and talk to our elected officials and ask them to work toward a bi-partisan solution to the current immigration system
- Consider ways in which we can support sending
countries in their own development to reduce migration due to extreme
poverty, violence and persecution and build a network of Christian
organizations in those countries that will support and welcome those who find become deported