January 21, 2016
U.S. Alliance President John P. Stumbo has signed the Christian Declaration on Caring for Refugees: An Evangelical Response, promoted at the GC2 Summit January 20, 2016, in Naperville, Illinois. All members of the President’s Cabinet also are signatories.
According to the declaration, the global refugee plight is a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented size that impacts nearly 60 million people. “Never have so many people been recorded as being displaced, put in danger, and sent on the move,” the statement reads. “Moments like these are when Christians cannot remain silent and still.
“In light of this crisis, we commit ourselves and our churches to actively care for and minister to global refugees with mercy and compassion, both here and abroad, based on God’s compelling concern for all people in need and especially refugees.”
While the declaration acknowledges genuine security concerns and encourages governments to be stewards of safety, it also calls Christians to embrace refugees through their denominations, congregations, or other nonprofits by providing for immediate and long-term needs.
When asked why this issue is so important to the Alliance family, Rev. Rosilio Roman III, U.S. Alliance assistant vice president for Multicultural Ministries and Church Multiplication, said, “We aspire to mobilize the greater Alliance family into genuine expressions of Christ love toward all people.”
This desire is based “on the conviction that our God is ultimately orchestrating the massive population exodus happening across the globe so that [these refugees] may come to a place where they can know Him and what He has done to secure their ultimate freedom through Christ’s death on the cross.
“As a Christ-centered, Acts 1:8 family, we want to lock arms on this issue with likeminded ministries to communicate to our growing immigrant communities that they are bearers of God’s image and we stand by them with a resolute determination to be conduits of His love and care for their physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.”
By supporting the declaration, The Alliance continues its long-held commitment to care for immigrants. As a charter member of The Immigration Alliance (TIA), Church Ministries is facilitating the establishment of several immigrant legal assistance centers. Also, “we are encouraging the opening of Arab-American learning centers throughout the country,” Rev. Roman said.
The summit was cosponsored by the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College, World Vision, and LifeWay Research. Speakers, some of whom drafted the declaration, included Rich Stearns, president of World Vision; Stephan Bauman, president of World Relief; Bill Hybels, founder and senior pastor of Willowcreek Community Church; Ed Stetzer, president of Lifeway Research; and Jenny Yang, vice president of advocacy and policy for World Relief.
GC2 is a moniker that reflects an evangelical commitment to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. The intent of the gathering was to reflect on and develop behaviors in light of these two biblical directives.
Rev. Roman said, “We stand at a crossroads on the national issue of welcoming and leading immigrants and refugees into God’s family.”