As Christians, we are called to be accepting of all people around the World as children of God and recognize their sacred worth. Specifically as United Methodists, all persons are welcome and we affirm their civil and human rights. Regardless of a person’s immigration status, we invite them into our churches whether attending Bible school, participating in worship or ministering to others. Let us be mindful that Joseph led Mary and Jesus to Egypt as they became immigrants.
God calls us to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, clothe the naked and welcome the stranger. The United Methodist Church is in ministry with all and for all people. We join the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church, in solidarity and unity, in regard to the harmful nature of HB 56. HB 56 violates the basic understanding of our Christian faith as the church is asked to serve in all ways to all people at all times. It is essential that we manifest the presence of Christ in the community regardless of a person’s status.
May God guide us as we determine the healthiest way in which to address this issue. Scripture, Galatians 5:22, reminds all Christians to express themselves through the Fruits of the Spirit which includes patience, kindness and goodness. May we always exhibit dignity and openness to all persons.
Bishop Paul L. Leeland
Alabama-West Florida Conference