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.