Jesus defined a righteous person as one who welcomes strangers and does not turn them away

There have been many responses to the “border crisis” and the lack of comprehensive immigration reform in our nation. The United Methodist Church, in its Social Principles, teaches that “we recognize, embrace, and affirm all persons, regardless of country of origin, as members of family of God.”

Many within The United Methodist Church have worked for comprehensive immigration reform in the past. This work continues as many children, unaccompanied minors, have made their way to our border. There are United Methodist congregations on the border and here in Indiana who are working to help these unaccompanied minors.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence recently released a statement calling on President Obama to send the children back to their home countries. The Social Advocacy Team of The United Methodist Church in Indiana calls on Gov. Pence and the United States Government to respond in a humane and generous way to these children who have arrived with nothing. They are simply seeking a better a life, one that our United Methodist congregations hope to help them reach. They are refugees coming from terrible situations that we can only imagine here in the United States. It’s time to act on comprehensive immigration reform and it’s time to make the right decision for families and children who are at risk.

According to Matthew 25:35, Jesus defined a righteous person as one who welcomes strangers and does not turn them away. As followers of Christ, we feel compelled to welcome these children and youth who have come to the United States in hope of a better tomorrow. We believe to deny them is to deny Christ. Here are four ways you can be involved:

Pray: Pray for the children and their families, their countries and those responding to their needs.

Learn: Understand the underlying issues and the personal stories of the children. Information on the United Methodist response can be found on UMC.org/immigration.

Support the humanitarian response: The United Methodist Committee on Relief, Justice For Our Neighbors, United Methodist WomenChurch World Service  and other organizations are responding. Individual congregations can seek to work with border churches and ministries.

Advocate: Urge lawmakers not to repeal provisions of human trafficking laws that protect minors or to expedite the deporting of children. The General Board of Church and Society information on advocacy, and a General Board of Discipleship resource offers action steps.

Action steps and links are provided by United Methodist Communications.