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Friday, July 19, 2024 at 4:39 PM

Faith and Life -- a column from local faith leaders

Once per week or so, Fallon’s faith leaders offer their thoughts on faith and life. Any church or faith community of any kind is welcome and encouraged to participate. If you have ideas for topics, please call Pastor Dawn Blundell at Epworth UMC, 775-423-4714.
  • Source: Reverend Dawn Blundell, Epworth UMC
Faith and Life -- a column from local faith leaders

Author: Courtesy of Stan Lattin

A word about this month's topics: The contributors to this column have deep disagreements on many issues about which we are all very passionate. However, we seek to confine our criticisms to the issues, not the person; to the merits of the case, not the character of the author; and to the topic at hand, not our own pet issues. With this in mind, we can carry on civil discourse, disagreement, and dialogue in a way that we hope can be productive and helpful to many.


What is our responsibility to the immigrant and the stranger? 


Rev Dawn Blundell, Epworth United Methodist Church

Worship Sunday mornings at 9:00am, sermon at 9:30am on Facebook Live and KVLV AM980

For more info, please call 775-423-4714 or visit www.epworthfallon.org

It is normal for us to fear those we don’t know. The people of the Bible knew it; Jesus knew it and understood it. That is why so much of what the Bible teaches, and so much of what Jesus did and taught, addresses these fears by insisting that we overcome them and provide generous, wholehearted welcome to the immigrant. Not just the refugee; any immigrant. There are good reasons for laws, processes, and structures to help us handle immigration well, and keep our country safe and prosperous, but from a Christian perspective the Bible’s direction is inescapable: we are to welcome the immigrant, because we were once strangers ourselves. (Deut 10:19, Lev 19:34, Mt 25:35). We are treat them with generous hospitality, enthusiastic welcome, and self-sacrificing humility.


Celeste Buswell, Licensed Worship Leader and Homilist, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

Worship Sunday mornings at 10:00am and Wednesdays at 7:00pm

Prayer services via Zoom Sunday morning at 8:30am, Tues and Thurs at 6:00pm

For more info or to join the Zoom prayer services, please call 775-423-3551

Sending my kids off to school that first time was very emotional. It's unfathomable to think of living somewhere so corrupt, dangerous and poverty stricken that I would send my children off with strangers or family to go to a new land and hopefully have a better life. What is the church’s responsibility to these immigrants? The answer is simple. Feed them. Physically, and more importantly, spiritually. We are all God's children and recognizing that in each and every person's eyes (the mirror to the soul) is the least we can do. How fulfilling it would be to know, being a stranger in a strange land, that the presence of God is manifest in each one of us, a light to shine on those who are in darkness.


Rusty Jardine, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Fallon 5th Ward Sunday School President

For more info, please call 775-742-9040 or visit www.churchofjesuschrist.org

It is the duty of everyone that would be called a disciple of Christ to render unto others freely –to always love them and succor them. Without qualification as to as to citizenship, or rank, or social status, or the relationship had by us with others, the Master said: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” By this, then, we may know that we are His disciples –if we have love one to another!

Sources: Jos. Smith Jr. (HC2:229); John 13:34-35.


Pastor Brennen Behimer, Parkside Bible Fellowship

Sunday School at 9:00am, worship services Sunday mornings at 10:15am and 6:00pm

For more info, please call 775-423-3855 or visit www.parksidebible.com

The Bible’s definitions of stranger and immigrant contained religious and ethical qualifications. “Strangers” in the Old Testament had come to Israel agreeing to worship Yahweh alone and keep God’s statutes and laws, just like the native-born (Lev. 18:26). They agreed to obey the Mosaic Law and refrain from any illicit religious or sexual practices. Only those who agreed were given special status and protection alongside the Israelite population. Thus, biblically speaking, a nation has every right to establish and enforce laws governing who can immigrate or receive aid. Spiritually speaking, God has always specially provided for and protected his people. Anyone who comes to Jesus Christ in faith will receive the benefits of that love and enjoy the blessings of a right relationship with God.


Adam Bayer, base chaplain Naval Air Station Fallon

Worship at the NAS Fallon Chapel at 10:00am, or on Facebook Live beginning at @10:25

For more info, please call 775-426-9189

*The views or opinions expressed herein are solely his, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense or the United States government.

The Bible offers two nearly irreconcilable perspectives on citizens’ responsibility to the immigrant. First, Exodus 22:21 commands us simply, “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner.” Israel followed various guidelines to ensure immigrants’ well-being, at least partially because Israel itself formed from immigrants (sound familiar?). But the Bible also withheld certain privileges from immigrants, including marrying citizens and various religious rites. After Jesus’ coming, this dualistic idea continues. Certain privileges extend to those who trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection, but not to those who reject Jesus’ sacrifice. Even so, God calls all Jesus-followers to love their neighbor, regardless of citizenship. Applying these principles to modern-day America, it appears America absolutely should care for immigrants, but has a basis to extend certain rights to citizens.


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