These conversations are not statements of our doctrine as expressed in the Book of Discipline, nor are they guidance provided by the Study Commission on Doctrine (SCOD), but they are intended to be open and respectful discussions on various present-day topics. Our intention is not to limit discussion but to elevate it by assuring that God’s love and respect is always expressed. For more information click ABOUT.
Browse category by IMMIGRATION
WELCOMING THE STRANGER:  Faith Communities and Immigration

WELCOMING THE STRANGER: Faith Communities and Immigration

January 7, 2018 By dwayman

In a recent article, Alexia Salvatierra, who is an adjunct professor at Fuller Seminary and an immigration activist, wrote a thorough history of the Biblical and American experience with immigration, the sanctuary movement, and current realities.  It is a great resource, but also a call to participate in the care of those who are being harmed.  Comparing the modern sanctuary movement with the “Cities of Refuge” and the “Underground Railroad” the call focuses on the center of Free Methodist biblical commitment and our own history of abolitionist action.

In part she writes:

“In the thirty-fifth chapter of the Book of Numbers in the Hebrew Bible, the writer lays out a remedy for a social and legal problem. In ancient Israel, the penalty for murder was death, “a life for a life.” Family members of the slain person normally carry out the sentence.  However, the writers of Numbers recognized that it would not be fair for accidental killers to receive the same punishment as those who kill intentionally. Raging family members could not be expected to stop midstream and investigate; the community is instructed to create cities of refuge where the accused can be kept safe until they can receive a fair hearing. The cities of refuge are the solution for people who committed a crime and received an unfair penalty.

This ancient remedy is the root of the sanctuary church tradition. Since the fourth century in England, churches have offered protection and shelter to those accused of a crime but who would be likely to be punished unfairly if left unprotected.



September 10, 2017 By dwayman

This is the official explanation (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) of the events during the 1930’s when hundreds of thousands of Mexican people were coerced into returning to Mexico.  The reasons were racist and economic.  It reveals the complexity of the situation in which the “official proceedings” were responsible for only a small portion of those who were coerced to leave.  The majority left out of fear due to the threats they received.  You can read this official report here.

The official explanation says in part:

“In most cases, however, no federal record exists for these departures. This is because, while an estimated 400,000 to 1 million Mexicans and Mexican-Americans left the US for Mexico during the Depression, relatively few of them were expelled under formal INS-directed removal proceedings. The majority returned to Mexico by their own decision or through officially voluntary – though often coercive – repatriation programs directed by state and local governments and charitable aid agencies.

INS did increase its deportation efforts during the 1930s and on several occasions the agency co-operated with local governments who sought to remove Mexicans from their jurisdictions. These actions understandably contributed to the current belief that the INS led a massive repatriation program. In reality, INS’s role in the removal process was somewhat more complex.

In1930, as the extent of the Depression became more clear some Americans accused Mexicans, as well as other aliens, of holding jobs needed by U.S.



April 5, 2017 By dwayman

In 1860 our Free Methodist founder, Benjamin Titus Roberts, wrote in the April EARNEST CHRISTIAN that:

Open opposition to all wrong and injustice is another element of Scriptural righteousness. Many who will not do wrong themselves will countenance it, at least indirectly, in others. This is usually the first step in a loss of virtue. They who, for the sake of party interest, personal relationship, or any other cause, is silent when they should reprove, will soon apologize for, then justify, then approve, and, if occasion serves, perpetuate the wrong from which, at first, their moral sensibilities revolted. 

Often as we live our blessed lives due to Christ’s work in us, we can live in that blessing without speaking out against the injustice and wrong so prevalent in our day.  These convicting words, written 157 years ago, remind us that Christ calls  us to an active participation in bringing justice and mercy to our world.

Our 2015 Free Methodist Book of Discipline says it this way:

¶3221       Worth of Persons

We are committed to the worth of all humans regardless of gender, race, color, or any other distinctions (Acts 10:34-35) and will respect them as persons made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) and redeemed by Christ’s death and resurrection.

The  Old  Testament  law  commands  such  respect  (Deuteronomy 5:11-21). Jesus summarized this law as love for God and neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40).



April 4, 2017 By dwayman

Our congregation on the Westside of Santa Barbara is blessed to be bi-cultural and bi-lingual.  This congregation has resources for all churches during this time of fear and anxiety about immigration.

In a recent report to the conference leadership team, pastor Rich Sander wrote:

 Pueblo FMC partnered with the Trinity Episcopal church to bring a forum to Santa Barbara regarding the Sanctuary movement and practical next steps for congregations. In SB, we’re meeting again this coming Wednesday as we form an inter-faith coalition that stands with the immigrant and refugee. Below is an overview of what we learned at the forum from speaker Alexia Salvatierra. First, I wanted to reiterate that what we have learned is that its more important for us to be in the work of “changing hearts and minds” than going full-steam-ahead on protests, declaring sanctuary, and/or housing immigrants/refugees. While all of the latter are important, chances are that they are much less needed than the former. Our main goal is to lower anxiety. Easy ways to do that are found in the web site. I’ll go over the documents and their usefulness: 1) Rights/Derechos – One of the main ways we can help immigrants and refugees is for them to know their basic human rights as well as the rights that are afforded to them with regard to arrest and/or entrance into their homes. This card is easy to print out and laminate; anyone can use it when they are being questioned, arrested,


April 1, 2017 By dwayman

There are those who think we should not assist our people who need legal help in their immigration.  However, the love of Christ compels us to help those who are in need.  It is explained this way by Larry Roberts:

“The Free Methodist Church – USA is joining 14 other evangelical denominations to form the Immigration Alliance —a national effort that equips local churches to provide legal services to under-resourced immigrants.

“There is clearly a deep need and a demand for these services,” FMCUSA Chief Operating Officer Larry Roberts said. “Because these services are of such high importance to those who need them, this is a powerful opportunity to bless those immigrants amongst us and introduce them to our churches and our Savior through the relationships that can be built in this process.”

The Immigration Alliance launched Tuesday, Oct. 21, as a coalition of evangelical denominations — including the Free Methodist Church – USA and fellow Wesleyan Holiness groups such as the Church of the Nazarene and the Wesleyan Church — that represent more than 28,500 congregations. The alliance is committed to multiplying the number of sites across the country providing low-cost, high-quality immigrant legal services over the next three years.

With more than 22 million foreign-born, noncitizens in the United States – and with only 12,000 private immigration attorneys and 2,800 nonprofit immigration attorneys and accredited staff in the United States – the need for trustworthy, authorized legal services has never been greater.

La Postura de la Iglesia Metodista Libre sobre Inmigración

La Postura de la Iglesia Metodista Libre sobre Inmigración

March 28, 2017 By dwayman

in English

Comisión de Estudio Doctrinal (SCOD 2013) Obispo David Roller y Dr. Bruce Cromwell

Al acercarnos al tema de la inmigración nos damos cuenta de una tensión fundamental entre nuestro deseo de cuidar a todas las personas y nuestro deseo de respeto el derecho de los gobiernos de establecer leyes y de mantener una política económica. Ambos son impulsos legítimos, pero ambos deseos están sujetos a los principios de Dios extraídos de la narración bíblica. Si, como sugeriremos a continuación, el mandato a cuidar a las personas se halla en una categoría diferente y superior al derecho del gobierno de restringir la inmigración, entonces monitoreamos las leyes del gobierno que crean fricción con el mandato de cuidar a las personas (ver “A, “B” y “E” de 2011 Libro de Disciplina ¶ 3221, edición de 2015) y abogamos para cambiar tanto nuestras acciones como nuestras leyes (“C” y “D” del mismo párrafo).

Las leyes de inmigración están íntimamente relacionadas con la ciudadanía (solamente los no ciudadanos están sujetos a las leyes de inmigración) y la ciudadanía es un concepto del gobierno basado, a su vez, en las realidades del nacimiento. Las dos realidades de nacimiento opuestas como bases legítimas de la ciudadanía son “Jus Soli” (derecho a la ciudadanía del suelo, es decir, por derecho de nacimiento) y “Jus Sanguinis” (derecho de la sangre, es decir por los padres). En el primero, la ciudadanía se basa en el lugar de nacimiento y en el segundo se basa en la ciudadanía de los padres.



March 27, 2017 By dwayman

In the E3 conferences, our bishops explained that missions is not one way, but that God is doing a mighty work in bringing people from all over the world to be our neighbors.  Many of these are Christians, while others come with varying beliefs and degrees of openness to Christ.

As our churches become increasingly multicultural we are preparing for our unity in eternity when “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:9).

What are you doing to become one with all those of the various nations, languages, and tribes that are immigrating to our country?



December 21, 2016 By dwayman

en español

SCOD 2013
Bishop David Roller and Bruce Cromwell

At the heart of the arguments surrounding immigration matters is a fundamental tension between our desire to care for all persons and our respect for the rights of the state to establish laws, including economic policy. Both are legitimate impulses but their position, vis-à-vis each other, is subject to God’s principles extracted from the Scriptural narrative. If, as we will suggest below, the desire to care for persons is a different and higher category than the state’s right to restrict immigration, then we monitor laws of the state that create friction with the mandate to care for persons (see “A,” “B,” & “E” from 2011 Book of Discipline ¶ 3221) and we advocate to change the behaviors and laws in question (“C” and “D” from the same paragraph).

Immigration laws are based on citizenship (only non-citizens are subject to a particular state’s immigration laws), which is a concept of the state based, in turn, on birth realities. The two opposing birth realities for granting citizenship are “Jus Soli” (right of the soil or birthright citizenship) and “Jus Sanguinis” (right of blood). In the former, citizenship is based on place-of- birth and in the latter it’s based on parent’s citizenship. Jus Sanguinis was Roman law but has gradually lost favor to Jus Soli, especially in the New World.

Both of these rationales, one’s place of birth and parent’s citizenship,