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Hispanic Leaders Express Appreciation for Encouragement

CHICAGO, IL (May 27, 2010) – Covenant Hispanic leaders have written a letter to Evangelical Covenant Church President Gary Walter in appreciation for expressions of prayer and encouragement they have received from people throughout the Covenant in the midst of national and international attention on immigration issues.

The Pacific Southwest Conference, for one, has sent a letter to all of its congregations requesting prayer and encouraging biblical reflection on these issues as a matter of discipleship.

“We acknowledge that there are multiple issues related to this topic and varied views of solutions,” the conference letter reads in part. “It is not our intent to debate pros and cons of any proposed solutions, but rather to explore the biblical basis for our responsibility to offer hospitality to all and broaden our understanding of the many issues surrounding this topic.”

The letter also directs people to a Resolution on Immigration adopted by the 2006 Covenant Annual Meeting, which underscores the importance the Bible places on ministering God’s love and peace to all.

Walter recently signed the Covenant for Civility, an initiative co-sponsored by Charles Colson and Jim Wallis that calls a broad spectrum of Christians to biblically grounded and mutually respectful conversations on matters of contention and incivility within the culture. “The Covenant has and can lead the way in handling tough conversations with respect and graciousness, which is absolutely necessary for communal discernment,” Walter observes. “It is my deep conviction that we find our way forward by calling out the best in each other as followers of Christ, not demonizing one another. Our Hispanic community is experiencing that reality in the Covenant, and modeling it for all of us.”

The letter to Walter reads:

On behalf of our Covenant Hispanic leaders and congregations, we want to express our deep gratitude for all the words of encouragement, support, concern, and prayer we have received from many in the Evangelical Covenant Church family during this season of heightened attention on immigration issues. For sure the immigration situation in our country is a complex one including financial dimensions and security factors.

We may have legitimate differences about the proposed solutions trying to balance these issues. Yet, it is comforting to know that Covenant people share our pain and make it their own, as we all believe in the dignity of every human being as part of God’s creation. We renew our commitment to serve our most vulnerable populations, bringing the message of power and hope of our Lord who was resurrected from the dead. The expressions of support we have received is another confirmation that we truly are in it together: juntos en la mision.

“The Covenant is increasingly a multi-ethnic mosaic,” Walter concludes. “Additional vantage points mean we will see and feel new things. We will find new depth in what it means to bear one another’s burdens, to rejoice when one rejoices, and to weep when one weeps. We’re up to the journey.”

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