New Mexico Conference of Churches
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The Judicatory Leaders of NMCC's member churches have issued the following statement in support of welcoming Syrian Refugees to New Mexico.
Together with many people in our state, we have watched with deep concern the events surrounding the flood of refugees from war-torn Syria. The images of thousands of families fleeing the horror and terror loosed in their homeland, risking and sometimes losing their lives, fills us with deep pain. This pain and concern has now been amplified by the heartache of those who have experienced horrific attacks of terror in places like Beirut, Paris and Mali, and San Bernardino. We experience the world in these days to be a violent and fearful place.
Given these realities, it would be easy to give way to fear and allow compassion to fail. As faith leaders, however, we are called to proclaim the power of divine light to overcome all darkness, the power of holy love to overcome all fear and hatred. In that spirit, we respectfully urge Governor Martinez to reconsider her opposition to receiving Syrian refugees in New Mexico, and would welcome an opportunity to dialogue with her about this critical matter. We commit ourselves and our communities of faith to actively partner with our local refugee resettlement agencies in welcoming these new neighbors and helping in their orientation to life in our country.
While we hear the voice and concerns of those who would seek to restrict entry for all refugees from Syria into our country, we do not believe this represents the spiritual or moral values of our nation. On the contrary, our own history bears witness to the power of welcoming the stranger from every land. Fear should not obscure our proud heritage as a nation where the most vulnerable in our world have found an opportunity for new life. Nor should we allow our spirit of generosity and hospitality to be compromised by any prejudice that would prevent us from accepting people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds. While mindful of the security concerns of our country, the fact is that all refugees admitted to this country undergo thorough and rigorous vetting by our governmental agencies.
As we approach the celebration of Christmas, we recall that the Holy Family was far from their home when Jesus was born, and that they became refugees from Herod who sought to kill the holy child. Our faith teaches us that helping our neighbor in need is one of the highest signs of holy love that can be offered. We commit ourselves anew to that calling and invite all people of good will to join us in welcoming our Syrian neighbors in need to our country and to our state.
The Most Rev. John C. Wester, Archbishop, Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Roman Catholic Church
The Most Rev. Oscar Cantú, Bishop, Diocese of Las Cruces, Roman Catholic Church
The Rev. Charlotte J. Hoppe, Lead Minister of Mission West, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
The Rt. Rev. David Bailey, Bishop, The Episcopal Church in Navajoland, The Episcopal Church
The Rt. Rev. Michael Vono, Bishop, Diocese of Rio Grande, The Episcopal Church
The Rev. Jim W. Gonia, Bishop Rocky Mountain Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Rev. Sallie Watson, Missional Presbyter, Presbytery of Santa Fe, The Presbyterian Church (USA)
The Rev. Dr. Donna L. McNiel, Executive Director, New Mexico Conference of Churches
This letter is available as a downloadable .pdf here.
The New Mexico Conference of Churches is a community of Christians across the state. We work to build relationships across denominational borders in order to live into Jesus' prayer that we all may be one. The fruit of these relationships in Christ is a common mission to respond to those in need and to advocate on issues of importance.
For more than 50 years, the New Mexico Conference of Churches has identified areas of need in the state and has developed programs to meet them. Some of the programs initiated by the Conference include:
- The Storehouse
- Samaritan Counseling Center
- Encino House
- Roadrunner Food Bank
- Habitat for Humanity
- Home Education and Livelihood Program (HELP)
- Gifts of Hope
- Dorothy Turner Health Seminars
- Farmington Meals on Wheels
- Interfaith Power and Light
- Christian Counseling Service of Southern NM
- New Mexico Community Development Loan Fund