Immigration Committee at our most recent General Assembly was charged with evaluating and making a recommendation to overturn a resolution made in 2010. The Session of my former congregation felt it was important to revisit this and to make a significant change in a policy that felt like a boycott. I served as overture advocate for a proposal we wanted to place before the assembly:
My name is Debra Avery, teaching elder, representing my former congregation, Palo Cristi Presbyterian Church and our presbytery to encourage you to support our overture to set aside the commissioners resolution from the 219th General Assembly. I’m here because I love that we get passionate in moments of crisis. And I’m here because I love how our church rises to challenges that suddenly emerge.Two years ago in AZ was such a time. There was a law, and a sheriff willing to vigorously, even violently enforce it, 1000s of frightened men, women and their children, a few hundred of them part of our Presbyterian family. And the 219th General Assembly rose to the challenge to say something important. Yet as acts of passion sometimes do, there were unintended consequences as some Presbyterians in the state of Arizona felt as though it was a boycott, as though the greater church had abandoned them in their hour of need. Because we have a long history of accompaniment in places where injustice and violence is the prevailing ethos, the Synod of the Southwest, the Session of Palo Cristi and our presbytery discerned that it is time to set this aside and ask the church to move into a time of journeying with, attending to, learning how to be with families and individuals who, in spite of the recent Supreme Court decision, we believe will continue to be targeted.
This morning, in worship, Margaret urged us to consider the faith of the unnamed people who carried their paralyzed brother to Jesus. I urge you to set aside the commissioners resolution from the 219th GA and faithfully commit to be in states like Georgia, Arizona, Alabama, Indiana, Tennessee and soon many other states where our Hispanic brothers and sisters are paralyzed by fear.