A Pastoral Letter to the Northern Illinois Annual Conference
A Response to Executive Orders on Immigration
From: Bishop Sally Dyck, Resident Bishop of Northern Illinois Conference
Who is Our Neighbor?
What does the Bible say?
“Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.” (Lev. 19:34, CEB)
What does the United Methodist Church say?
“We recognize, embrace, and affirm all persons, regardless of country of origin, as members of the family of God. . .We urge the Church and society to recognize the gifts, contributions, and struggles of those who are immigrants and to advocate for justice for all.” (Social Principles, par. l62H)
What does our country say?
Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! --Emma Lazarus’ poem on the Statue of Liberty.
What does the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church say?
“The very soul of our country is at stake. When we abandon strangers who are at risk of bigotry, Xenophobia, and violence, we not only destroy their hope, we destroy our own souls... Christ calls us to tear down the walls around our souls that we might live fully and abundantly."
-- Bishop Bruce Ough, President of the Council of Bishops ® The United Methodist Church
But What do you say?
While I stand ﬁrmly within the traditions and values listed above on welcoming the immigrant, I understand that some United Methodists disagree with those principles and resolutions. Nevertheless, I call all of us to Action:
♦ Study what the scriptures say about welcoming the immigrant. I recommend that you do
so with the Common English Bible which translates words like “alien” or “foreigner” as
♦ Study the United Methodist Book of Resolutions on immigration. (see below)
♦ Have a conversation with someone who disagrees with your opinion by telling the story of
how your family came to the US (unless of course, you are Native American and/or African-
American—these are other painful stories that reveal what happens when we don’t regard
our neighbor as ourselves).
♦ Attend the Northern Illinois Annual Conference’s Summit on “Who Is My Neighbor?”
hosted by our Hispanic/Latinx leadership on April 22, 2017 at Schaumburg: Our Saviour’s
UMC. More details to come. It will be an opportunity to learn more about immigration
policies as well as our biblical and UM traditions, how to be supportive of immigrants (of all
nationalities), what it means to be a sanctuary church, how Justice for Our Neighbors is
helping, etc. Most of all, I hope it will be a time when we truly build relationships across our
♦ Pray! Pray! Pray! Pray for our President, our country, and the communities of immigrants
who are uncertain and afraid.
♦ Support Justice for Our Neighbors with a monetary gift. Our two lawyers, Jenny Ansay and
Megan Davis, are working diligently to provide free legal advice to people in critical
situations. I am providing a list of resources that you can access online to begin studying and
talking with one another.
As you do, I trust that the prayers of our people will begin to rise on behalf of our neighbors.
Keep the faith!
Bishop Sally Dyck
CHICAGO AREA EPISCOPAL OFFICE
77 West Washington Street
Chicago, Illinois 60602
Office: (312) 346-9766 ext: 702 Fax: (312) 214-9031