Baptist clergy call for immigration reform in Winston-Salem

Upwards of a dozen Baptist pastors gathered in Winston-Salem today to call for comprehensive immigration reform in Washington.

"We're asking Sens. Kay Hagan and Richard Burr and Congresspersons Virginia Foxx and Mel Watt, as well as the other congresspersons in North Carolina to act now on comprehensive, fair immigration reform that respects the God-given dignity of every person, protects the unity of every immediate family, respects the rule of law, guarantees secure national borders, ensures fairness to taxpayers and establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and wish to become permanent residents," the Rev. Brandon Hudson, pastor of Northwest Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, said on behalf of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina.

The Rev. Ryan Eller said the fellowship represents Baptists with a broad range of political and theological orientations, including people who consider themselves evangelical, moderate and progressive. Almost 400 congregations belong to the fellowship. A full-time organizer with, Eller is also a pastor with the Via Faith Community, an emergent congregation that meets at Community Arts Cafe on West 4th Street in Winston-Salem.

A handful of pastors read the statement on behalf of the fellowship, including Scott Orr, pastor of Lindley Park Church in Greensboro, and Latino, black and white clergy from congregations in Goldsboro and Siler City. The press conference took place in front of First Baptist Church on Highland Avenue.

"Our Scriptures constantly tell us: Care for the immigrants and strangers among us," said Ka'thy Gore Chappell, leadership development coordinator for the fellowship. "And in the Scriptures, we know that Jesus told us in Mark 12 and Matthew 22 that the greatest commandment is to love God with all our passion, prayer and intelligence and then to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves."

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