UMC issue statement on Trump immigration order


The President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference,the Revd Dr Roger Walton and Rachel Lampard MBE, have welcomed aUnited Methodist Church statement on Trump's immigration order,given by Bishop Bruce R. Ough, the president of the UnitedMethodist Council of Bishops.


Bishop Ough issues statement on Trump immigrationorder

January 30, 2017

Bishop -ough -258x 388Minneapolis: Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of theUnited Methodist Council of Bishops, issued a statement regardingPresident Trump's executive order on immigration at a pressconference sponsored by the Minnesota Council of Churches. The'event, held at Hennepin United Methodist Church, gathered faithleaders to discuss the topic of immigration. Bishop Oughparticipated in today's event in his role as resident bishop of theDakotas-Minnesota Area of The United Methodist Church. Thestatement maintains The United Methodist Church's unity in standingwith other faith traditions to denounce the order, as well ascalling all to remember Jesus' words from Matthew 10:40: "Whoeverwelcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the onewho sent me."

"I call upon the people of The United Methodist Church to seethe face of Christ in the refugee," Bishop Ough said. "Say 'no' tothe walling off of our country and our hearts and say 'yes' totheir hope - our hope - for new life. Let us unite and worktogether to bring the soul of this country to a living birth!"

The full text of Bishop Ough's statement follows:
Today, I stand with colleagues representing several faithtraditions to strongly denounce President Trump's widespread attackon immigrants and refugees. President Trump's reckless,ill-conceived executive orders will divide families, impose areligious test for Muslims facing forced migration, penalizecommunities providing sanctuary and wall off the United States fromour neighbors. These actions are expensive, unnecessary andprofoundly antithetical to our values of compassion, dignity andjustice for all individuals regardless of nationality, religiousaffiliation or legal status.

The biblical witness is clear and unambiguous. Walls areunbiblical. Hospitality is biblical. Denying one's neighbor isunbiblical. Welcoming the stranger is biblical. It is notsurprising that Judaism, Christianity and Islam teach the reign ofGod as a banquet to which all peoples are invited. We are towelcome the sojourner, love our neighbor and stand with the mostvulnerable among us. These very values from our sacred texts andfaith traditions are currently reflected in the mandate of the U.S.Refugee Admissions Program and must not be usurped by any executiveorder. Orders, legislation or administrative actions that wouldhave the U.S. State Department disqualify refugees from protectionand resettlement based on their nationality or religion are adenial of the very principles this nation was built upon,contradict the legacy of leadership our country has offered theworld, and dishonor our shared humanity.

Jesus was explicit in his teachings. In Matthew's gospelJesus says, "Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomesme welcomes the one who sent me." (Matthew 10:40).

Refugees and immigrants arrive among us, not only with theirneeds, but also bearing gifts of energy, resourcefulness, love ofliberty and hope. These gifts have always contributed to therenewal of our society and the church.

Above all, these strangers bring to us the Christ. When wewelcome a stranger we welcome Jesus, and when we welcome Jesus wewelcome our creator. Refugees, immigrants, those yearning to befree-these are the ones whom Jesus spoke about when he said, "I wasa stranger and you welcomed me" (Matthew 25:35).

Repeatedly Jesus tells his disciples:

"For those who want to save their life will lose it, andthose who lose their life for my sake will find it." (Matthew16:25)

The original Greek language is far more poetic, powerful andprophetic. In finer translations of the Greek language, we hearJesus saying:

"Whoever seeks to build a wall around their soul shalldestroy it; whoever tears down the wall (around their soul) shallbring their soul to a living birth."

The very soul of our country is at stake. When we abandonstrangers who are at risk of bigotry, xenophobia and violence wenot only destroy their hope, we destroy our own souls. When we failto assist the refugees fleeing danger, we not only place them inharm's way, we do harm to our own souls. When we build walls ofconcrete, or walls of divisive rhetoric, or walls of fear, or wallsof immoral immigration policies, we build a wall around our ownsouls.

Christ calls us to tear down the walls around our souls thatwe might live fully and abundantly. Thus, I call on the Trumpadministration and the U.S. Congress to rescind the harmfulexecutive orders and save the soul of our country. I call upon thepeople of The United Methodist Church to see the face of Christ inthe refugee. Say "no" to the walling off of our country and ourhearts and say "yes" to their hope - our hope - for new life. Letus unite and work together to bring the soul of this country to aliving birth!

Bishop Bruce R. Ough, President
Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church
January 30, 2017


For more information, please see the UMC's website here.

For other faith based responses to Trump's immigration order, see here.