CPT staff members join the Iglesia Menonita Hispana (IMH) in urging the Mennonite Church USA (MCUSA) not to hold its 2013 convention in Phoenix, Arizona. CPT will not have an organizational presence in Phoenix if the denominational convention is held there.
“I am disappointed that MCUSA’s leaders are still leaning toward a Phoenix convention despite concerns about Arizona’s recently enacted law that creates such wide space for imposing racist discrimination. Right now we have a priceless opportunity for U.S. Mennonites to stand with those on the margins, to stand for justice,” says CPT Co-Director Carol Rose.
In a December 2010 letter, the IMH wrote,
“In order to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are undocumented, we choose to stand with them and advocate on their behalf before the church and government, and also choose to abstain from attending the 2013 convention if held in Phoenix. If the Phoenix site is chosen, we will bless the people who will be attending the event and will continue to pray. While we are blessing the people and the event, it does NOT mean that we endorse the location. We would also ask that ANY staff or board member (of any ethnicity) that would choose not to attend the convention if held in Phoenix be allowed to do so without question.”
The letter also urges the Mennonite Church to, among other things,
- “Take the lead on immigration and not to defer it to other church organizations or entities that may be working in this area already.
- Continue to implement ALL items under the commitments section of the 2003 Church-wide Statement on Immigration.
- Hire a person to work in conjunction with MCC Washington Office to advocate for the passing of the Dream Act and fair, comprehensive, just and humane immigration reform.
- Provide a fund of at least $50,000 to begin work on assisting Mennonite Church USA members who are undocumented, who do not have the funds to start the documentation process to become citizens.
- Call each church to serve as a sanctuary for the undocumented. As people of God, we are called to love and serve our brothers and sisters whether documented or undocumented.
- Call the church to pray and act for those who struggle as undocumented immigrants in our churches and communities.”
“My ancestors were immigrants in previous centuries, who came to North America because of systems that oppressed them in Europe." said Tim Nafziger "Today, God is giving us an incredible opportunity to support this century's immigrants in their struggle to live in peace and unafraid. Let's not let the moment pass us by."
The full text of the Iglesia Menonita Hispana’s letter is available