One of the great benefits of being part of the larger Anglican family is that we celebrate our global connections all over the world. As many of you know for 10 years we have gone to Rwanda and visited our friends who are like family in the Karangazi Parish. We are grateful beneficiaries of our global family made up of many tribes, tongues, and nations. Another benefit of being part of the Anglican family is that we receive spiritual direction from our Bishop Steve Breedlove. In guiding the diocese of Christ our Hope, diocesan leadership select topics of conversation that are important for us as Anglicans. This year’s theme of the Synod was on the topic of immigration. So this past November, we asked Dr. Danny Carroll from Wheaton College, author of Christians at the Border, to speak as we focus our thinking together on the question of immigration. It was a wonderful time of learning and reflection. Further, at our regional retreat in Raleigh, we invited Chris Schutte from All Saints Church in Durham to lead us in further discussion and reflection on this topic. See his story and a discussion of his talk in the latest edition of The Table, our quarterly parish magazine, and a recording of his talk below.
Chris Schutte: The Stranger Next Door
Introduction by Alan Hawkins
As many of us know, the topic of immigration is at the center of many conversations in the United States and around the world. Immigration, however, isn’t just a political talking point. At the end of the day, it affects human lives. Humans created in the image of God. So our diocese, guided by the Spirit, took up this conversation and wanted to see as Christians, how do we enter into and engage this topic? One of the missing pieces is that as Christians, many of us have forgotten our own story. The pages of scripture are filled not only with stories of immigrants, refugees, wanderers, and strangers, but also with the call to welcome, provide hospitality, and to love those very groups as a sign of God’s welcome of us. One thinks of the stories of Abraham who left Ur, the Israelites who sojourned in Egypt, and even Jesus himself who fled with his parents to Egypt. At Pentecost, the nations gathered for the outpouring of the Spirit, and in the book of Revelation, we see that God’s kingdom is made up of a worshipping community from all over the globe.
As Christian history and tradition have shown, Christians tend to disagree on a lot. So it’s no surprise that on this topic there are a variety of views. We want to take up this challenge as a church. We have an excellent article in The Table written by Rev. Alan Hawkins laying out some of the broad parameters that we must consider. On Sunday, during our prayers of the people, we read a litany on welcoming the stranger, to remind us of the ways in which there are those all around us who are in need of the love and hospitality of Christ. Further, as we look forward to the summer, Church of the Redeemer will host a Summer Growth Series on the topic of immigration led by Rev. Alan Hawkins and Dr. Jason Myers. Together, they will unpack the scriptural witness and the practical ways we can begin to enter the story of the Gospel in our community and grow in our understanding of this complex issue.
It is our hope and prayer that at Redeemer, our actions must reflect our convictions, which flow from our God-given identity as children adopted into his global family.