CRC director signs pro-immigrant letter


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CRC executive director Steven Timmermans joined over 100 Christian leaders in signing a letter addressed to the US president and Congress, urging better care for immigrants in the formation of national laws and policies.

Other evangelical leaders who signed this letter include author Jen Hatmaker of Austin New Church and Shane Claiborne of the group Red Letter Christians.

The letter appeared in the Washington Post as a full-page ad on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

“The Bible speaks clearly and repeatedly to God’s love and concern for the vulnerable, and also challenges us to think beyond our nationality, ethnicity or religion when loving our neighbor,” the letter states in its opening paragraph.

Timmermans said of the decision to sign the letter: “Our prayer is that the Holy Spirit has guided the process and the outcome is biblical, confessionally appropriate, and helpful to our witness. Such is the case with the issues of the letter… [it] wasn’t partisan but addressed to the President and all members of Congress. Most importantly, the letter was aligned with many of the conclusions reached by the CRC’s Synod in recent years.”

Among these conclusions, stipulated in the CRC’s Acts of Synod 2017, Article 59, is the re-affirmation that “an effective response to poverty and hunger must include holding our governments… accountable so that they devote sufficient resources” to combating injustices that affect people like Dreamers, refugees, persecuted Christians and families waiting for reunification, which the letter seeked to address.

Timmermans, along with CRC director of ministries and administration Colin Watson and World Renew–US director Carol Bremer-Bennett, also signed the Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty. This statement, also signed by many Christian leaders, calls on churches and Congress “to work together with new urgency against the resurgence of racism and the persistence of poverty in America.”

According to The Banner, Timmermans acknowledged that the letters did not achieve as much as desired but encourages church members to talk to their representatives in Congress. “To suggest that silence is the better strategy is a fatalistic response,” said Timmermans.

In September 2017, on-campus groups partnered together to host “DACA: Lament into Action” at Calvin, encouraging the community to be engaged in conversations and advocacy for justice issues in the Grand Rapids area. During that time, President Michael Le Roy confirmed that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which de-prioritizes the deportation of some undocumented immigrants, directly impacts Calvin students, adding that “we believe it’s an outgrowth of our mission to serve all populations of students who feel like they have a fit at Calvin.”

More recently, on Jan. 13, 2018, Le Roy, along with Jul Medenblik, president of Calvin Theological Seminary, released a statement to the Calvin community in response to controversial remarks attributed to President Trump, which called Haiti and African nations “shithole countries.” The statement acknowledged that both institutions were founded by immigrants, and that today they “are composed of students, faculty, and staff from more than 60 nations.”

“While 600 of us may claim citizenship in another country, we are all prime citizens of the Kingdom of God and share in a brotherhood and sisterhood that transcends all borders,” the statement said. “We protect and defend the inviolable dignity of all people.”