Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA, has issued a pastoral message in response to a U.S. district judge ruling to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on July 19. “Jesus taught us that when we welcome the stranger as a person made in God’s image, we also welcome God,” the message read, in part.

“Our lives, ministries and congregations have been blessed by many immigrants and refugees over the years—from many of our ancestors to those we welcome among us today,” the message continued.

“As a church we will continue to welcome all people, regardless of their documented status, seeking to ensure hospitality and safety for all. Bishops and synods are encouraged to find ways to support congregations working with newcomers and existing vulnerable individuals and communities. We also continue our advocacy through the ELCA’s AMMPARO strategy (Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities) and by urging our elected officials to enact legislation such as H.R. 6: the American Dream and Promise Act (or ‘Dream Act’), which provides a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and other undocumented immigrants with deep ties to this country. We will also pray for the wisdom and courage to welcome the stranger, and in so doing to receive our Lord.”

Read the full message.

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