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NHCLC News

Israel Bermudez appointed as Board Treasurer

Breaking News from the Hispanic Church

December, 2005 – Israel Bermudez, Pastor of The Pentecostal Church of God of Puerto Rico and Former Caribbean Sales Director of Snap On Tools, received appointment as Board Treasurer of The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Rev. Bermudez will provide oversight to the financial and accounting practices of the Board a long with the identification of viable income streams to facilitate the growth of the organization. His appointment is effective December 1st, 2005.

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Danny DeLeon, Pastor of America’s largest Bi-lingual Church, Joins NHCLC speaker’s Bureau

Breaking News from the Hispanic Church

December, 2005 – Rev. Danny DeLeon, Senior Pastor of Calvary Church in Santa Ana, Ca, America’s largest Bi-lingual Congregation with over 15,000 members and adherents, joins the speakers bureau of NHCLC. Rev. DeLeon recently received the Hispanic Leader of the Year Award for his years of successful and effective ministry. Rev. DeLeon hosted for many years the 700 Club broadcast for Latin America. NHCLC welcomes Pastor Danny to the Conference.

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Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Joins TD Jakes, Benny Hinn & others in discussing issues of Church including the Latino Church in America

By:

J. Lee Grady

 

Breaking News from the Hispanic Church

January 13, 2006 2006: The Best of Times, the Worst of Times When charismatic leaders gathered this week to assess the future, they looked at the good, the bad and the ugly sides of American ministry. Quote: “There is a dimming of the gospel taking place in America.” –-Steve Hill When revivalist Steve Hill took the microphone this week at the annual meeting of the Charismatic Leaders Council, he asked a woman in the back of the conference room to dim the lights. After speaking for a few minutes he asked her to dim them even more. “This is what is happening in today’s church,” Hill told the group, which included healing evangelist Benny Hinn, Baptist broadcaster James Robison, theologian C. Peter Wagner and missionary statesman Dick Eastman. “There is a dimming of the gospel taking place in America. We’ve got to start preaching the Cross again,” Hill said. The impressive group of Pentecostal and charismatic church leaders met in a hotel ballroom in Dallas on Jan. 9 and 10. Convened by veteran Pentecostal pastor Jack Hayford and Charisma’s publisher, Stephen Strang, the group listened to four panels of speakers that included Bishop T.D. Jakes, Argentinean pastor Claudio Freidzon, Jane Hansen of Aglow International and John Dawson, president of Youth With a Mission (YWAM). Hill’s sober warning was underscored by Ron Luce, founder of Teen Mania, who delivered an impassioned plea for renewed focus on youth ministry. Luce rattled off a list of depressing statistics about American teens that made some people squirm. Included at the top of his list was the fact that only 4 percent of today’s teens are or will be evangelical Christians—the lowest percentage of Christians in any generation of American history. “We are losing,” Luce said bluntly. “What sort of world will our children and grandchildren grow up in?” Several panel members lamented the fact that charismatic church leaders are faltering, either by lack of integrity or by failure to pass the baton to younger leaders. Other participants expressed concerns that American churches are watering down the gospel and making their message seeker-sensitive in order to attract crowds. Said Seattle pastor Casey Treat: “I am excited about ‘relevant’ ministry. But have we become so relevant to the world that we’ve become irrelevant to God?” Not all the talk in Dallas was negative. Many panel members said they were hopeful that genuine spiritual revival is around the corner—just in time for the 100th anniversary of the Azusa Street revival that launched the Pentecostal movement. Korean-American pastor Ché Ahn of Los Angeles, for example, reminded the group that God has heard the prayers of American Christians during recent hearings to confirm Supreme Court Justice John Roberts. And missionary spokesman David Shibley noted that although American teenagers have not been evangelized in large numbers, a greater percentage of them are going to the mission field today. “Out of our constriction and confinement, a new thing will emerge in 2006,” predicted healing evangelist Mahesh Chavda, who said his North Carolina church is fasting and praying for a spiritual awakening this year. Bible teacher R.T. Kendall, former pastor of Westminster Chapel in London, said he has sensed for years that true revival will erupt in the United States, but only when evangelicals and charismatics dissolve their differences and link arms. “The church will not begin to make an impact until these two camps come together,” Kendall predicted. James Robison, who is more often identified with Baptists than charismatics, surprised everyone in the room with his passionate pleas for Christian unity. Admitting that he cannot wear the charismatic label, he begged everyone else to take theirs off. “We cannot let our theological beliefs nullify love itself,” he said. Several voices also reminded the group that God is doing a new thing among women by calling them not simply into ministry but also into church leadership. In one of many candid moments during the event, Hayford lamented the fact that some leaders in his own denomination—the Foursquare Church—are resistant to the concept of women in top pastoral positions. YWAM’s Dawson told the group about 25-year-old Brianna Esswein, a vivacious missionary nurse who died in Nigeria in December when a truck plowed into her van. He expressed hopes that Brianna’s story will inspire a new generation of women to head to the mission field. Perhaps the most hopeful and positive signals given at the conference came from international and ethnic voices. Hispanic church planter Sammy Rodriguez, who is affiliated with the Assemblies of God, reminded the group that Hispanics and other immigrant communities are the fastest-growing segments of the American church. Ahn, whose father started the first Korean Southern Baptist church in the U.S. 47 years ago, said Asian charismatics in this country are using their wealth and education to transform society. Myles Munroe, a Bahamian megachurch pastor and international speaker, chided the Americans for being too narrow—noting that our sport of baseball celebrates a “World Series” that is for American teams only. Said Munroe: “You must develop a global focus.” J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma and an award-winning journalist. He participated in the Charismatic Leaders Council in Dallas this week


By James Robison Founder and President, LIFE Outreach International January 10, 2006 It was an honor to be with you yesterday. I’m sorry I was unable to attend this morning’s session. When I left last night, I continued to pray and did so this morning. I feel impressed to share the following insights and areas of concern. I think we all heard the Lord. It is critically important that we interpret, understand and properly apply it. If not, we will mistake a clear word from God, act according to the flesh, produce another Ishmael and miss the promised Isaac or, at best, delay the birth. I continue to relate to all visible and labeled parts of the Evangelical community and even representatives in the Catholic community. Sadly, we are a divided family, wasting much time defending experiences and beliefs. I caution all attendees to beware lest we find ourselves caught up in, participating in and even promoting a labeled movement, rather than fanning the flames and yielding to the fresh move of the Holy Spirit. The issue at hand is not to defend or even define the Holy Spirit—but to demonstrate His person and power. Be prayerful, be careful. His Spirit is to be poured out on all flesh and, certainly, every part of His body, His family. Correctly understanding His kingdom purpose and dominion must not be taken as “rule by power” or forced control of society. I don’t think last year’s statement concerning dominion was a misinterpretation, but a careful attempt to emphasize the true nature of the kingdom. Remember, the disciples wanted Him to establish His earthly throne, and they were arrogant enough to request a seat on either side. I think kingdom dominion, clearly demonstrated throughout the book of Acts and the entire New Testament, was typified when Paul and Silas were held in the Philippian jail, bound in stocks. They had such supernatural dominion they sang praises to God. They were abiding in peace and, as Paul said, “content in whatever state or condition they were in.” Their clear demonstration of true kingdom dominion impacted the guard entrusted with their watch-care. Previously fearing their possible escape, he was suicidal. But after experiencing supernatural conversion, he marched them down main street in front of the whole world and right into his house. He was delivered of all fear, freed within and joined the apostles in demonstrating kingdom dominion. Let’s beware, lest we misinterpret the holy vision, as did Constantine when he saw the vision of the cross, heard the words “by this conqueror,” and sadly set Christianity on its heels by taking up the sword of the flesh rather than the sword of the Spirit. He created another Ishmael by trying to conquer in his own power rather than through the liberating power of the Holy Spirit. Because of this Ishmael, as with the first Ishmael, we are still reaping the tragic results even today. Those of us gathered in that room, along with many others who may never attend such a meeting, have been entrusted with the glorious opportunity and privilege of exposing a world in darkness to the liberating light and power of God’s transforming love. Theological clarification will follow, but it is my firm belief that our personal heart commitment must be that of Paul: “I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified…And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:2-5, KJV). Grace and peace to all…and glory to God!

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NHCLC joins Hispanic Coalition on Comprehensive Immigration Reform and presents Evangelical perspective on issue

Breaking News from the Hispanic Church

February, 2006 – The Hispanic Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform calls upon President George W. Bush and Members of the Senate to enact legislation that will address all facets and dimensions of the immigration issue. Our concerns stems from the immigration legislation recently passed by the House of Representatives and the subsequent proposals currently in the Senate. As Hispanic Evangelical leaders we are concerned with the security of our nation and the simultaneous well being of our immigrant families of which the majority is of Latin American descent. We support immigration reform based on our Judeo/Christian value system that empowered this nation of immigrants to thrive while preserving standards of compassion and humane treatment to all who seek a better life The Hispanic Evangelical church consists of approximately 20 million Hispanics in America. We wholeheartedly understand the legal, moral and political juxtaposition surrounding this issue. However, we believe that we can protect our borders, implement current immigration laws and present a viable solution to the undocumented immigrants currently in our nation within the framework of Biblical mandates and our Judeo/Christian Value System. The Hispanic Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform encourages the enactment of a comprehensive immigration legislation which will include the following:

  1. Border enforcement and protection initiatives that include the application and enhancement of technological, military and law enforcement capabilities that will protect our borders while enabling and facilitating the implementation of our nations immigration policy.
  2. Temporary designation for immigrant workers and their families who upon satisfaction of criteria and due process, begin the path towards permanent residency and citizenship
  3. Overhaul of immigration quotas and current tenants in the family reunification process with the purpose of drastically reducing the waiting times for separated families while increasing the number of visas granted to individuals that will contribute intellectual, spiritual and economic capital to the American Experience.
  4. A viable guest worker program that will strengthen the economic vitality of both employer and employee.
  5. The creation of safeguards against any policy that creates precocious transitions in status thus jeopardizing the stability and well being of immigrant families.

Let us work together to protect our borders, enforce the law, secure all families, and preserve the values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Hispanic Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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Immigration and the Changing Contours of Religious Pluralism in the United States

By:

Andrea Althoff, Sightings

In the United States today, Latin Americans, mainly Mexicans, constitute the largest number of immigrants, and this majority puts them at the center of debates regarding integration into U.S. civil society. Parties to these debates often regard immigrants’ religions as an impediment to their integration, yet there are very few studies that cover recent immigration from a religious perspective. The role of religion and religious institutions for immigrant integration in the past is, by contrast, well documented. Research on immigration from Europe, for instance, underscores the fact that religious institutions have been among the most important resources for meeting the challenges immigrants face in a demanding and often threatening new environment. It is also manifestly the case that immigrant religions contribute to a pluralism that alters the American religious landscape. The term “religious pluralism” would seem to suggest that Latin American believers profess a faith other than that of the majority of the population in the United States. But the population coming from Latin America is in fact predominantly Christian, indeed mostly Roman Catholic. The number of Protestants in Latin American societies is also growing. In Guatemala, for instance, about 25 percent of the population is Protestant, primarily Pentecostal. Latin American immigrants’ contribution to religious pluralism is therefore less about representing a completely different religion than a matter of inflecting the contours of Christianity in the United States. Within these changing contours, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and the Protestant Pentecostal movement — both frequently described as kinds of fundamentalism — are among the most dynamic forces. Originally introduced to Latin America from the United States by missionaries, they developed into local, independent powers, no longer receiving funding or other support from the United States. Today the dynamic is different, as the missionary work moves from south to north. While some immigrants bring their faith with them from their home countries, a lively proselytism is taking place in the United States by and among immigrants. Indeed, empirical evidence drawn from my own research in Chicago indicates that the number of immigrants who arrive as Pentecostals and Charismatics is small in comparison to those who convert once in the United States. This observation leads to questions about the attraction of these movements for Latin Americans, and the possibility that the context of immigration itself contributes to this attraction. Recent studies attest to the significance of these movements. One report shows that “there are now more Latino Protestants in the United States than Jews or Muslims or Episcopalians and Presbyterians combined. In total, there are 12.2 million (37 percent) Latino ‘born-again’ Christians in the United States, of whom 9.2 million are Pentecostal or Charismatic. In short, 28 percent of all Latinos are Pentecostal or Charismatic” (Espinosa, Elizondo, Miranda, “Hispanic Churches in American Public Life,” 2003). Several factors suggest that religion, and especially Pentecostal and Charismatic currents within Christianity, provide Latin Americans with important tools for coping with their situation in an unfamiliar country. The conservative doctrine of Pentecostal movements, with its emphasis on nuclear family values and individual salvation, fits well with the cultural mainstream of American society. Yet the majority of Pentecostal congregations are organized along ethnic boundaries, often comprising exclusively Spanish-speaking Latinos. Though such religio-ethnic enclaves provide safe places for immigrants, consolidating and stabilizing collective and personal identities, at the same time they set those immigrants apart from their host society. This protective space appears even more important when we take into consideration institutionalized racial discrimination against Latin Americans (especially Mexicans), the precariousness of the civil status of many immigrants, and the current wave of anti-immigration legislation. The religious communities function as valuable facilitators of successful immigration. This line of reasoning is supported by empirical data that show that Latin American Pentecostals are doing better economically than their traditional Catholic counterparts. As the debates concerning immigration continue, it will be important not only to enter into dialogue with religious groups from different cultures but also to look at the social reality in which these immigrant groups live. Only then can we begin to discern the positive roles that religious groups might play in the process of integration, a dimension often ignored in the current discussion about religion and immigration — particularly amidst fears of fundamentalist forces in our society. Andrea Althoff holds a Ph.D. in sociology and is a Senior Research Fellow at the Martin Marty Center. Sightings comes from the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

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World Relief, leading Non Ethnic Evangelical Voice calling for Comprehensive Reform

Breaking News from the Hispanic Church

March 2006 – The World Relief Organization, the relief and development ministry/organization of the National Association of Evangelicals, is the leading voice within the non ethnic church calling upon Congress to enact Comprehensive immigration reform. “We call for immigration reform because each day in our congregations, service programs, health-care facilities, and schools, we witness the human consequences of an outmoded system. We see and hear the suffering of immigrants who have been separated from their family or who have experienced exploitation in the workplace or abuse at the hands of unscrupulous smugglers and others. In our view, changes to the U.S. legal immigration system would help put an end to the suffering, that offends the dignity of all people made in the image of God.” In the United States and 24 countries around the world, World Relief works with local churches in creating sustainable solutions that help the desperately poor. World Relief’s programs include disaster relief, refugee and immigrant assistance, AIDS ministries, community health programs, agricultural development, and community banking.

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Blessed Are the Courageous

When it comes to immigration policy, let’s remember who we’re talking about.

The usual array of arguments marshaled to support or hinder immigration tends toward the abstract. The arguments often obscure rather than clarify. It’s helpful to remember who we are talking about when we discuss “undocumented workers.” We’re talking about people like Maria. Daniel Groody, immigration scholar, author, and Catholic priest, tells Maria’s story like this: “I remember meeting Maria, who came north from Guatemala and wanted to work in the United States for only two years, then return home to her family. I met her on the Mexican side of the border just before her third attempt. In the previous 10 days, she had tried twice to cross the border through a remote route in southern Arizona. On her first attempt, she was mugged at the border by bandito gangs. Though bruised and beaten, she continued her journey through the desert and ran out of food. Just before she reached the road, she was apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol and put in an immigration detention center. A few days later she tried again. This time, her coyote smuggler tried to rape her, but she managed to free herself and push her way through the desert once again. After four days of walking, she ran out of food, water, and even strength. The border patrol found her, helped her, and then sent her back to Mexico.” Dignity for Aliens On the one hand, some advocates tell us to remember that immigrants are made in the image of God and have an essential dignity. That is true. But basic human dignity also belongs to the border agents, the coyote smuggler who tried to rape Maria, and legislators who seek to further restrict Maria from coming to the United States. On the other hand, some complain about “lazy Hispanics” who desert their families and come to this country to take advantage of social welfare programs. But given human nature, all kinds of people abuse our welfare system—including Anglos. Some Christians pull a verse out of Leviticus like a trump card—let’s say Leviticus 19:33–34: “When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born.” They use it as a bludgeon: “The Bible commands us to welcome the stranger.” Indeed, we should. But that does not help us decide, ultimately, what to do with “illegal aliens.” Nor whether we should give amnesty to the up to 12 million undocumented persons in our midst, or deport them, or something in between. Nor does it tell us how to screen out drug dealers and terrorists in a way that protects human rights and dignity. There is also the argument that says we should care about immigrants, legal or not, because they are poor, oppressed, and defenseless—”the least of these.” As one wellmeaning cleric put it, we Christians are called “to attend to the last, littlest, lowest, and least in society and in the church.” Such talk can be patronizing and demeaning. Immigrants aren’t mere victims, but historic actors. Most of the suffering they experience they know about well in advance, yet they venture forth in courage nonetheless. They are not weak, but strong; not “the least of these,” but our betters in many ways. They have the initiative and courage that is emblematic of being American. They traverse deserts. They walk 50 miles or farther in treacherous conditions that have killed (so far) 3,000—all to enjoy greater economic and political freedom. Once here, they toil in labor-intensive work that most Americans consider demeaning but that immigrants imbue with dignity, because of the work ethic they bring to it. That ethic—when combined with thrift and care for family and extended family—has earned them a significant place in American culture. Deep Faith We suspect that they are also people of deep Christian faith in many cases. Groody continues his story about Maria: “I was curious about how Maria dealt with these trials before God. ‘If you had 15 minutes to speak to God,’ I asked her, ‘what would you say?’ I thought she would give him a long litany of complaints. Instead, she told me, ‘I do not have 15 minutes to speak to God. I am always conversing with him, and I feel his presence with me always. Yet if I saw God face to face, the first thing I would do is thank him, because God has been so good to me and has blessed me so abundantly.'” Immigration policy is a mass of complexity. A wise policy will balance compassion for individuals and separated families with national security and economic ramifications. Respect for law is not negotiable, but it is not everything. And creating criminal penalties for those who aid illegal immigrants falls far short of solving our problems. Those responsible for crafting immigration reform surely need our prayers. We should remind our lawmakers and advocates that when all is said and done, we’re not talking about “the poor” or “deadbeats” or “undocumented workers.” We’re talking mostly about people like Maria. Any policy that treats her the same way we treat drug smugglers and foreign terrorists is foolish. Any policy that makes it harder for Maria to come here, temporarily or permanently, is a policy that says that courage, industry, and faith no longer matter. Let’s figure out some way, please, to let Maria and others like her sojourn among us.

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Faith Communities Call for Immigration Reform

Breaking News from the Hispanic Church

February, 2006 – Faith communities have stepped in to call for comprehensive immigration reform that would help ease the suffering of immigrants as spending on programs and systems to control the flow of immigrants over national borders have been included in President Bush’s $2.77 trillion budget for fiscal 2007. The president’s new plan includes a $247 million spending on a guest worker program for immigrants, 1,500 new Border Patrol agents and a system to help states check immigration status. “The administration’s plan,” states a summary of the proposals on border security, “is to catch all migrants attempting to enter the country illegally, decrease crime rates along the border, allow employers to hire legal foreign workers when no American is willing to take the job, and restore public confidence in the federal government’s ability to enforce immigration laws.” The Hispanic Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, a newly formed coalition of evangelical clergy, expressed concern over such proposals as a border wall and the lack of any process for illegal immigrants to legalize their status in the United States. It urged for reform proposals protecting those already in the country to remain so legally. Also, in a statement released last week, World Relief urged churches and congregants alike to push for comprehensive immigration reform. “Our faith teaches us to welcome our brothers and sisters with love and compassion,” stated the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals. “World Relief joins this call for policies that respect the dignity of all people and honor our deep tradition as a nation of immigrants. The time has come for Christian churches of all sizes to do the same.” World Relief had joined other religious leaders in an interfaith statement last October that called for an opportunity for hard-working immigrants already in the country to regularize their status and have the option of becoming legal residents and eventually U.S. citizens, and for border protection policies that were consistent with humanitarian values among other proposals. “We call for immigration reform because each day in our congregations, service programs, health-care facilities, and schools, we witness the human consequences of an outmoded system,” the Christian relief organization stated. “We see and hear the suffering of immigrants who have been separated from their family or who have experienced exploitation in the workplace or abuse at the hands of unscrupulous smugglers and others,” it added. “In our view, changes to the U.S. legal immigration system would help put an end to the suffering, that offends the dignity of all people made in the image of God.” Courtesy Lillian Kwon The Christian Post

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Faithful Divided on ‘Thou Shalt’

By:

John Cochran and Shawn Zeller, Congressional Quarterly

Breaking News from the Hispanic Church

March 27, 2006 As if the broad divide over immigration weren’t complicated enough for the different factions of Republicans, the internecine politics gets even more baroque: A core constituency of the party — religious voters — is itself fractured over the moral questions of how the United States ought to respond to the wave of illegal immigrants. U.S. Catholic bishops, leaders of an important religious group that the GOP has been working hard to win over, call for compassion and understanding for illegal immigrants — and denounce as uncharitable and short-sighted a House-passed bill that focuses solely on border enforcement. So, too, are leaders of World Relief, an aid organization founded by the conservative National Association of Evangelicals, advocating a more Samaritan-like approach. To make its case, World Relief quotes the Book of Leviticus: “The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself. . . .” Then again, other evangelicals, Catholics and religious people just as passionately argue the other side. Their priority is strengthening the borders and cracking down on illegal immigration, which they say threatens the welfare of families here who have followed the rules, including the working-poor. Conservative commentator Phyllis Schlafly, a Catholic, has written that any “amnesty” for illegal immigrants, including a guest worker program, such as the one proposed by President Bush, is “immoral.” Immigration, unlike abortion, is not a top-tier concern for this constituency. Some of the biggest names on the religious right, such as James Dobson of Focus on the Family, have stayed on the sidelines, saying they need to stick with the moral family issues closest to their mission. But there are strong feelings among other conservative religious leaders on both sides of the debate. And that further complicates the calculus for congressional Republicans, who need every last vote they can get in this November’s midterm elections. Stand one way, and they anger religious conservatives who see things the way Schlafly does. Choose the other side, and they turn off other evangelicals and, perhaps most important, Catholics, with whom they have begun to make successful inroads. Catholics are still sharply divided politically, “so even secondary issues could make a difference” in the GOP’s efforts to make them a part of their coalition, says political scientist John Green of the University of Akron. The divisions among Christian conservative leaders reflect the conflicted feelings of religion-minded voters. In January, the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reported that 64 percent of white evangelicals surveyed said that making it tougher for illegal immigrants to enter the United States should be a top priority. And yet, another Pew survey last year also found members of large religious communities, including evangelicals, “all over the block” in their views toward immigrants, as Green puts it. World Relief is not a left-wing group, outside the mainstream of the evangelical world. Its founder, the National Association of Evangelicals, is the umbrella group for traditionally conservative churches that together claim 30 million congregants. If the issue is politically complicated, there’s also nothing easy about it morally, says conservative Christian leader Gary L. Bauer. The poor families now here legally, who have to compete with illegal immigrants for low-skilled jobs, also have a claim on the conscience of the public, he says. “The justice argument is very muddled at that point.” Some conservative Christians argue that illegal immigration hurts all families by straining the health care system, schools and law enforcement. Assisting illegal immigrants or allowing them to become legal once they have slipped in illegally also encourages law-breaking, something that’s counter to Christian morality, they say. God “would never condone law-breaking,” says Sadie Fields, state chair of the Christian Coalition of Georgia.   What Should a Christian Do? Jenny Hwang of World Relief’s refugee and immigration program says no one supports illegal immigration, and everyone wants the borders secured. But policy makers should recognize the human toll of an immigration system that has long been broken, she says. Last fall, that group, the Catholic bishops and others signed a statement calling for a legal, orderly way for migrants to enter and find work. They also want measures allowing “hard-working immigrants who are already contributing to this country to come out of the shadows” and work toward becoming legal residents. They are not talking about amnesty, Hwang says: Immigrants should have to go to the back of the line, pay heavy fines and otherwise earn legal status over time. Richard Land, a leader of the conservative Southern Baptists, says his denomination might be open to such measures, as long as the border is secure and illegal immigrants aren’t getting a free pass. Land, the bishops and others also criticize the House border security bill for, among other things, making it a crime to assist people known to be illegal, something they say would make criminals of Christians trying to do their religious duty to the needy. For the bishops, there’s an added, institutional imperative to this fight: Many Hispanic immigrants are Catholics themselves. Many are also conservatives, argues Samuel Rodriguez Jr., a conservative evangelical minister and head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. That means it’s in the interests of both religious conservatives and the GOP to get behind initiatives to put them on the path to becoming citizens, he says. Polls show that Hispanic immigrants support the social conservative line on abortion and same-sex relationship, among other hot-button social issues. If the GOP turns its back on them, the party risks “alienating, not just for a generation, but forever, the fastest-growing face of the traditionalist conservative voting bloc,” says Rodriguez.

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Hispanic Mega Church Association Meeting

Fellowship • Networking • Honest Sharing • Confidential Conversations • How can I lead my ministry to the next level? • What are the best practices for managing a growing staff? • How are we developing the next new generation of leaders for our church? • What practices in my church are working well to reach new people for Christ? • What are the best ways to develop generosity in today’s economic climate? • What are the biggest challenges I am facing in my church right now? (No political agenda or preaching, just closed-door discussion and peer connecting. We will also offer a free handout from our recent study of megachurches that highlights ideas and trends from across in America.) Churches that minister to Hispanic-heritage people are one of the fastest growing segments in this country. Never has there been a greater need to develop friendships and to network together in Christ – sharing vision, ideas, resources and advice. Pastors have more in common by attendance and growth than by any other factor. Leading pastors usually find peer-group settings highly beneficial to discuss common concerns. Leadership Network began 26 years ago by inviting senior pastors of the largest churches in America to a similar gathering. Pastors talked with each other on a peer-to-peer basis, expanded their vision as they heard what God was doing among others, and departed with many new friendships – and saying that this was their best meeting of the year. We’ve been involved in “quiet” networking like this ever since for leaders of America’s largest and fastest growing churches. Please click the following link for more information: www.tiny.cc/hispanicforum
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