When Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents held the largest raid in the US in over a decade at a local meatpacking plant in Canton, OH, the members of Radial Church (Canton, OH) stood with their members and neighbors to help put the pieces back together.
Radial Church pastor Dustin White was interviewed by local NBC affiliate WKYC out of Cleveland, as well as the Associated Press:
“From what I saw and heard they say their loved ones haven’t come home,” White said a day after the raid. “In many ways, the dust hasn’t settled.”
White spent the night checking in on community members, many he says are from the Guatemalan community. He said they issued a warning to the community last night to share what was happening. He said a message in Spanish was written on the parking lot of the Fresh Mark location in Canton that read "Immigration will be here for 15 more hours. Don’t go in today.”
"For me, I'm compelled by it, as a follower of Jesus, that we are called to welcome the stranger. We are called to disadvantage ourselves for the benefit of the vulnerable," White told us.
White adds that some of those who worked at Fresh Mark came to the U.S. seeking refuge from what they described to him as a threatening environment, hoping to protect their kids and provide a new life.
"These are good people, one of the conversations we had last night with one of the men coming out, he said 'I don't understand why folks hate us. We're not stealing anything. On the contrary, we're giving you the work of our hands'," the pastor added.
The Brethren Church does hold a position on the issue of immigration. The Brethren Church Position on Social Issues can be read in its entirety here, but here's an excerpt:
We are for engaging civic and government leaders to advocate for policy that mirrors the posture and mandates found within scripture, particularly the life and teachings of Jesus. We are for our leaders making research and fact-based decisions in guiding the nation in our immigration policy. We are for consistent and compassionate immigration policy. We are for updated VISA quotas and current policy – that has not changed since 1965 – such that they accommodate the needs and economic realities of the 21st century. We are for family unification.
While many people hold an anti-immigrant mentality, the Brethren should strive to be counter-cultural by displaying compassion in both our actions and our speech.
The position was accepted by a vote the 2017 General Conference of The Brethren Church, which includes delegates from every Brethren Church in the USA and Canada.