Deuteronomy 24:17-18 (NIV)
17Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge.18Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this.
Purpose of trip
In response to concerns raised by Iglesia Menonita Hispana, Mennonite Church USA’s Executive Board is sending a delegation to Phoenix, Ariz., to witness “on the ground” the effects of Arizona’s new immigration law, the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.
Phoenix currently is the location for the denomination’s 2013 convention.Phoenix city government leaders, who have expressed their disappointment with the new legislation, extended the invitation to the delegation to come; the Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau will cover expenses for the trip.
The group will meet with city officials, convention planners, local Hispanic and Mennonite Church USA congregations, and human rights workers who specialize in immigration. Delegation members will gather information about the potential multi-faceted impacts of holding the denomination’s 2013 convention in Phoenix, and will discern options for staying in Phoenix, finding a different location, or canceling the 2013 gathering.
On Friday evening, Mennonite Church USA Phoenix-area churches will join delegation members for a forum on immigration to discuss the issues and guiding principles surrounding the Phoenix 2013 decision.
As Mennonite Church USA contemplates next steps, we are committed to our stated priority of honoring the dignity and value of all Racial/Ethnic people in Mennonite Church USA, ensuring just and equitable access to church resources, positions and information as manifestations of the one new humanity in Christ. As we seek to become an anti-racist church, the dominant group must be accountable to the Racial/Ethnic constituency in decision-making processes. Our delegation will model this accountability. In light of Arizona’s new legislation, living into this priority requires that we find specific ways to honor and support our Latino brothers and sisters and other immigrants who are part of Mennonite Church USA. Our efforts and decisions must be focused on allowing God’s healing and hope to flow through us into the world.
—Glen Guyton, director for constituent resources, Mennonite Church USA