Dear Leaders of NT-NL Latinx Communities,
In response to concerns and pastoral care for the communities of our Latinx conference I have composed the attached letter. This comes from a number of concerns raised by leaders in our church about the anxiety and fear within our Latinx congregations particularly after the recent mass shooting in El Paso in which the gunman explicitly stated his goal was to kill those of Latinx heritage and ethnicity. Additionally pastors in this conference have reported to their colleagues stories of being turned away from visiting immigration detention centers despite their proper documentation as well as community concerns of how to care for the children of those who have or might be deported.
This letter is to be read and shared with our Latinx congregations at your earliest convenience. I will be utilizing it as part of my sermon tomorrow at Emanuel, Dallas. I have also cc’d our conference deans on this email and synod executive team so they are aware of this letter and its contents. Please know this is not in any way related to the ELCA Assembly sanctuary declaration but was in the works prior to the assembly in response to pastoral concern and need. I have heard clearly from you that our Latinx siblings are living with a great deal of real fear and anxiety. As bishop, pastor to the synod, I feel it is imperative I respond and ensure you that we are listening to your fears, stand with you, and see them as fellow siblings in Christ.
This letter is for these communities, hence the reason it is in Spanish (English translation is provided). I would appreciate us not sharing it beyond those communities until they have had time to share it with their community.
Thank you for your leadership in our synod,