March 07, 2021

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Resiliency Through Faith: Statement on Family Separation

ELCA presiding bishop, faith leaders

issue statement on family separation

6/7/2018 12:30:00 PM

CHICAGO (June 7, 2018) – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has convened ELCA ecumenical and inter-religious partners in a statement addressing concerns over a recent U.S. government policy calling for more stringent enforcement of federal immigration laws. The policy will most likely result in an increase in family separations.


The letter follows:


Recently, the Administration announced that it will begin separating families and criminally prosecuting all people who enter the U.S. without previous authorization. As religious leaders representing diverse faith perspectives, united in our concern for the wellbeing of vulnerable migrants who cross our borders fleeing from danger and threats to their lives, we are deeply disappointed and pained to hear this news.


We affirm the family as a foundational societal structure to support human community and understand the household as an estate blessed by God. The security of the family provides critical mental, physical and emotional support to the development and wellbeing of children. Our congregations and agencies serve many migrant families that have recently arrived in the United States. Leaving their communities is often the only option they have to provide safety for their children and protect them from harm. Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children.


As we continue to serve and love our neighbor, we pray for the children and families that will suffer due to this policy and urge the Administration to stop their policy of separating families.


His Eminence Archbishop Vicken Aykazian

Diocesan Legate and Director of the Ecumenical Office

Diocese of the Armenian Church of America


Mr. Azhar Azeez President

Islamic Society of North America


The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera

Bishop of Scranton, PA

Chair, Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs


Senior Bishop George E. Battle, Jr.

Presiding Prelate, Piedmont Episcopal District

African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church


Bishop H. Kenneth Carter, Jr.

President, Council of Bishops

The United Methodist Church


The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry

Presiding Bishop Episcopal Church (United States)


The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer

General Minister & President

United Church of Christ

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton

Presiding Bishop

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


The Rev. David Guthrie

President, Provincial Elders' Conference

Moravian Church Southern Province


Mr. Glen Guyton

Executive Director

Mennonite Church USA


The Rev. Teresa Hord Owens

General Minister and President

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)


Rabbi Rick Jacobs


Union for Reform Judaism


Mr. Anwar Khan


Islamic Relief USA


The Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller

President, Provincial Elders' Conference

Moravian Church Northern Province


The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II

Stated Clerk

Presbyterian Church (USA)


Rabbi Jonah Pesner


Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism


The Rev. Don Poest

Interim General Secretary


The Rev. Eddy Alemán

Candidate for General Secretary

Reformed Church in America


Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick III

Presiding Bishop, The Eighth Episcopal District

Christian Methodist Episcopal Church


The Rev. Phil Tom

Executive Director

International Council of Community Churches

Senior Bishop McKinley Young

Presiding Prelate, Third Episcopal District

African Methodist Episcopal Church