Texas bishops issue pastoral letter on border crisis


Texas — The United Methodist bishops assigned to serve the people of Texas have issued a pastoral letter today addressing the latest crisis along the U.S. border involving children from Central America.

“We do not understand all that these children have experienced in their home countries or in their arduous journey to our borders,” the bishops wrote. “We do know that their plight breaks the heart of God.”

The increase in children from Central America attempting to cross the border into the United States began in 2011 reaching a crisis point this year, with an increase of over 100%. Response to the crisis has been mixed, with some calling for a toughening of the laws regarding the deportation of Central American children and others suggesting a more humanitarian response.

The Texas bishops argue for the latter approach in their letter. “Children are some of the most vulnerable members of the global community,” they wrote. “Many come seeking to survive. They all need our compassion and care. At a time of concern about a struggling economy and national security, it is easy to give in to fear and to let that fear, rather than God’s heart, shape our hearts and our response. ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.’ (II Tim. 1:7). As followers of Christ, we have the power and wisdom of God to care for these unaccompanied children.”

The bishops call on United Methodists throughout Texas to be in prayer for the situation, to work in providing housing and other services to these immigrants while their situation is being resolved, and to be open to seeing Christ in the faces of these children.

The letter’s signatories include Bishop Earl Bledsoe of the New Mexico and Northwest Texas Conferences, Bishop Jim Dorff of the Rio Grande and Southwest Texas Conferences, Bishop Janice Huie of the Texas Conference, Bishop Mike Lowry of the Central Texas Conference, and Bishop Mike McKee of the North Texas Conference.

Click here to download a copy of the bishop’s full letter.

UMReporter Staff

This story was posted by a staff member of The United Methodist Reporter. For over 160 years The United Methodist Reporter has been helping the people called Methodist to tell their stories. If you have stories that you think need to be told, please let us know at editor@circuitwritermedia.com

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
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Don HendersonKaren B.Toby GouldLeslie Ann KnightRex Matthews Recent comment authors
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Don Henderson

When will the Bishops address the discrimination of the LGBT community by the UMC?

Rex Matthews
Rex Matthews

With great respect for and full sympathy with the position taken by the Texas bishops in their letter, I have to note that the quotation from Wesley they use at the end of the letter is not authentic. Call me a pedantic old professor if you want, but historical accuracy matters, and I do wish we latter-day Wesleyans would quit saying that Wesley said things that he didn’t really say — and “Do all the good you can….” is one of those things that Wesley didn’t say. There are several variants of this spurious Wesley quotation, some longer, some shorter.… Read more »

Leslie Ann Knight

In response to the Wesley quote comment: Once I was hiking in dry country. I saw a rough handpainted sign, “Extreme Rattlesnake Habitat.” To my companions, I joked about how you could have Extreme Danger, or Habitat, but not Extreme Habitat. Then we confronted one of the big rattlers coming down the trail our way. I was so busy correcting the grammar that I missed the point.

Listen to the message of the Bishops.

Toby Gould
Toby Gould

Professor Matthews,
Of course, you’re correct about the Wesley quote. The scholarship of UM bishops is once more called into question. This is not news. The sad thing about your reply is that you ignore the issue that caused the bishops to write. Academics ignore pressing social issues. This is not news, either.

Karen B.
Karen B.

All I can say is “Amen”.

The horrific experiences that these children have been through cannot be described in words. The fact that these children, should they survive, eagerly throw themselves into the arms of any law enforcement officer they meet speaks for itself.

That our denomination questions a humanitarian response to this situation speaks volumes. I suspect the Wesley brothers would be appalled at our callousness in the face of human need.

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