The CRC on immigration

Immigration has been one of several hotbed topics throughout this unprecedented political season. Political rhetoric in the media often contradicts the fundamental Christian assumption that all people are image-bearers of God. Yet According to the Pew Research Center, there are 120,000 undocumented migrants in Michigan, about 29,000 of whom live right here in Kent County. Immigration is a relevant and pressing issue; so what does the church have to say about it?

The Christian Reformed Church, which is affiliated with Calvin, takes a strong stance on immigration. In 2010, Synod, a decision-making body of the CRC, reviewed a report on the migration of workers and adopted several recommendations as a response. Synod called CRC churches to actively educate their congregations about immigration, to adopt a compassionate stance toward the marginalized and to advocate for immigration reform in the political arena. Overall, Synod made explicit that all people, regardless of legal status, are God’s image bearers. Therefore, the CRC should embody the scriptural mandate to care for the stranger and demonstrate love toward society’s most vulnerable.

Since then, many CRC members have actively adhered to Synod’s recommendations. According to the CRC website, a meeting between CRC ministry leaders and Arabic and Farsi speaking pastors took place at Willowdale CRC in Toronto earlier this summer. This meeting, which was coordinated by Christian Reformed Home Missions and Christian Reformed World Missions, included discussion about future overseas work with immigrants and refugees. Attending the meeting were several pastors and ministry leaders who had already collaborated with Muslims, as well as CRC pastors hoping to minister with Muslims in the future.

Emad Girgis, who coordinates an outreach ministry to Muslims in Ontario, was one of the attendants. “We have been praying for more churches to open themselves to a love for Muslims. The need to do this is not optional in Canada because we are seeing so many Muslims coming into this country. The harvest is huge,” he said.

The Office of Social Justice for the CRC is also actively complying with Synod’s recommendation through its Blessing Not Burden campaign. This campaign is grounded on scripture such as Deuteronomy 10:17-18. “The LORD your God … executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and … loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Inspired by scripture such as this, the Office of Social Justice provides educational resources on their website (, equips people to sign petitions and advocate for immigration reforms and offers a Church Between Borders workshop which gives insight into the plights many immigrants face.

Immigration is complex topic that is particularly relevant during this political season. One of the best ways God’s people can demonstrate love for one another is by using resources, such as those provided by the CRC, to initiate meaningful conversation about immigration. For more information on the CRC’s position on immigration, visit or