The recent immigration crisis has invited this pastoral response which I hope will show what we Lutherans believe and how we address matters affecting the stranger among us and the stranger who seeks welcome.
As Lutherans, we are an immigrant church, and a church that has a long history of caring for refugees, immigrants, and asylum-seekers. Many of our parishes began as havens of refuge for newcomers to these United States. First, the Germans, then the Danes, the Norwegians, the Finns, and the Scandinavians all came to this continent in search of religious freedom as well as a better opportunity for their children. Several of our parishes still worship in the native language of the immigrants who founded them.
In the 1940’s, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service began as a resettlement agency for German refugees who were escaping the intolerable conditions of Nazi Germany.
It would be worthwhile to keep in mind that even though the terms refugee, immigrant, and asylum seeker may describe a person’s situation, those words do not define who that person is. [Read more]
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