A “visionary and prophetic stand” to welcome the stranger

Migrants from Central America at the Mexican border in Nov 2018. Many of them have been walking for 22 hours or more. Photo: LWF/Sean Hawkey
Migrants from Central America at the Mexican border in Nov 2018. Many of them have been walking for 22 hours or more. Photo: LWF/Sean Hawkey

LWF welcomes ELCA declaration as a sanctuary church

(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has thanked the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for its “visionary and prophetic stand” of declaring the denomination as a sanctuary church body.

In a key action at the 5-10 August ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Milwaukee, United States, delegates approved a memorial declaring that as a sanctuary church, the ELCA is committed to serving and supporting migrant children and families in communities across the country. It becomes the first North American denomination to declare itself a sanctuary church body.

“Wherever we look around today, the dignity and equal value of all human beings as created in God’s image is increasingly being questioned in many sectors of society, including some churches,” said Acting LWF General Secretary Maria Immonen. “It is affirming and heart-lifting that our member church is taking such a clear, visionary and prophetic stand and accompanying action.”

It is affirming and heart-lifting that our member church is taking such a clear, visionary and prophetic stand and accompanying action.
Acting LWF General Secretary Maria Immonen

Immonen, director of LWF World Service, referred to the document Welcoming the Stranger, which was developed by the LWF and other faith-based organizations and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2013. The ELCA assembly action, she added, “affirms the Lutheran communion’s commitment to the self-understanding of the church as the place to welcome the stranger and serve the neighbor.”

 ELCA

ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton and other assembly participants marched and held a prayer vigil to the Milwaukee Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, shining a spotlight on the church’s AMMPARO initiative. Photo: ELCA

Before the assembly vote, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton joined more than 700 assembly participants in a march and prayer vigil to the Milwaukee Immigration and Customs Enforcement office. The event addressed concerns about the human rights of migrant children and families entering the United States (US) along the southern border.

The ELCA continues to work toward just and humane policies affecting migrants in and outside the country through its Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities (AMMPARO) initiative. The church also collaborates closely with the Lutheran Immigration and Refugees Services to address policies related to accompanying migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

 ELCA

During a march and prayer vigil in Milwaukee, ELCA Churchwide Assembly participants addressed concerns about the human rights of migrant children and families entering the United States along the southern border. Photo: ELCA

 


The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Led by Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton, it joined the LWF in 1988.