The Board of Elders of Vine Street Christian Church affirmed June 26 GA-1723, a sense of the General Assembly resolution titled, “On Becoming Immigrant Welcoming Congregations.” The move anticipates the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada in Indianapolis where GA-1723 will be discussed. That event begins Saturday and runs through Wednesday, July 12.
The elders also adopted a second resolution in accord with Vine Street’s local context in Nashville.
The elders did so following a congregational listening and learning session on June 21 (where the full text of the resolution was shared) and on the heels of a June 18 Sunday worship service designed with refugees and immigrants in mind. The Rev. Thomas Kleinert spoke to the matter in his sermon that day.
The elders’ decision to affirm GA-1723, therefore, reflects prayerful consideration and feedback from the congregation, which confirmed a desire to help people in need within the limits of local, state and federal laws.
Additionally, the elders noted Vine Street participants attending the Indianapolis event may share with the Assembly news of the elders’ actions as part of the discussion. Rev. Kleinert and Rev. Gregory Rumburg will be present for the gathering.
Regarding its local context, Vine Street’s elders affirmed a “Resolution to Declare Vine Street Christian Church a Solidarity Congregation,” a document originating with the group and keyed to expressing the sentiments of GA-1723 in the context of Nashville, where local refugees and immigrants are feeling the weight of crisis and insecurity. It reads:
Resolution to Declare Vine Street Christian Church a Solidarity Congregation
“I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” —Matthew 25:35
With growing awareness of the vulnerability of many immigrants and refugees in our city and beyond, humbled and challenged by Christ’s solidarity with all human beings, and in response to Christ’s call to faithful living, we, the Board of Elders of Vine Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) declare Vine Street a Solidarity Congregation. We commit ourselves to:
● the continual and public expression of our support for immigrants and refugees in our community;
● the consistent use of liturgy and prayer to deepen our spiritual connection with andsupport of immigrant and refugee communities;
● the theologically informed study of the issues in debates about immigration, deportation, and refugees;
● the encouragement of congregants to participate in rapid response efforts, including public witness and prayer vigils;
● the participation with other Nashville Sanctuary congregations and communities in supply drives, fundraising for legal fees, and helping families recover from the loss of a breadwinner to deportation or detention.
Vine Street’s Official Board was informed of these decisions at the June 28 meeting of the Board.
The plight of refugees and immigrants will remain a topic of prayer, worship, conversation and service well after the adoption of these resolutions, the elders say. Plans for further study are being considered now.