Bethany Lutheran Church

Janeen Smith, Pastor ~ 26418 Mountain Highway E, Spanaway, WA ~ 253-847-8801

Statement from the ELCA Conference of Bishops in solidarity with migrants in Texas


“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matthew 25:35).


ITASCA, Ill. (March 4, 2024) - We, the members of the Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), consistent with our church’s social teachings, stand in full solidarity with people of faith who respond to God’s call to serve their neighbor. As members of the conference, we are elected to lead one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3 million members in more than 8,700 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region.


We are deeply troubled by the actions of the Texas attorney general’s office against Annunciation House, a volunteer-run faith-based organization that has been a pillar of welcome and hospitality in El Paso for more than 40 years. Annunciation House has been singled out by the attorney general’s office over potential legal violations for the social services it provides to immigrants in Texas. We recognize Annunciation House's exemplary way of faith—by way of humanitarian works in close partnership with the federal government and other nonprofits in the region—that ensures migrants are treated with dignity and respect.


In its social teachings, our church affirms its legacy as “a church with immigrants and with roots in immigrant churches in a nation of immigrants.” We further draw on the long Lutheran tradition in the United States of hospitality toward refugees and migrants. This legacy and tradition “remind us that hospitality for the uprooted is a way to live out the biblical call to love the neighbor in response to God’s love in Jesus Christ.”


Thus, our church teaches that we are called to love and serve all people, to show compassion toward newcomers, and to support just laws that serve the common good. The ELCA, its synod companions and its ecumenical partners are working vigorously to address unprecedented levels of migration in the Western Hemisphere due to a lack of safe communities and sustainable livelihoods. Annunciation House’s work with the marginalized in society resonates with us as leaders in the ELCA, a church with a core immigrant identity, for whom welcoming the stranger is a significant part of our baptismal covenant.


As bishops and as Christians, we pledge ourselves to accompanying both migrants and those who serve migrants with protection, advocacy, representation and opportunities, and we urge all people of goodwill to join us.


We call on policymakers to prioritize the protection and care of migrants, especially children and families, and to work toward humane and just solutions to address the root causes of migration. As people of faith, we are called to welcome the stranger and to love our neighbor as ourselves. May we respond to the needs witnessed at our borders with generosity, fairness, and a commitment to building a more just and compassionate world for all.



ELCA Social Message on Immigration (2021, 1998)


AMMPARO – ELCA’s strategy for Accompanying Migrants with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities