This updated letter, now with 46 signatures and a still wider representation of congregations and denominations!

It was first shared with the public at the ecumenical/multi-ethnic worship service, that was held a College Mennonite Church.

Thank you again for the part you play in bringing the good news of God’s reconciliation to our community.

December 3, 2006
Dear friends and neighbors in Goshen:

We are pastors and leaders in different congregations, representing different denominations, with differences in theology. But we are united in our love for Christ, our concern for the community of Goshen, and our heightened distress over the plight of recent immigrants in our midst. In the past months, we have heard from our Hispanic brothers and sisters of a sharp increase in fear, harassment, and perceived targeting by others in the community. These splits in the fabric of our community concern us greatly.

As people guided by the Holy Bible, we believe God calls us to treat the stranger who sojourns among us as the native, to love the stranger as our self (Leviticus 19:34); and to welcome the stranger, because in doing so we welcome Jesus (Matthew 25:35).

We do not condone illegal activity, but neither do we condone lack of charity, compassion and welcome toward entire ethnic groups.

We trust that all civic-minded members of the community, including our public officials, share our desire for a safe, diverse, and harmonious city. The participation of city leaders, such as the mayor and police chief, in the Community Dialogue meetings and other forums has been particularly helpful. We call on all members of the community, in this time of increased tension, to build trust, offer kindness, and “outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10).

In Christ,

Neil Amstutz, Pastor/Team Leader
Waterford Mennonite Church

Deron Brill Bergstresser, Co-Pastor
Faith Mennonite Church

Kay Bontrager-Singer, Co-Pastor
Faith Mennonite Church

Jane Stoltzfus Buller, Pastor
Walnut Mennonite Church

Kevin Farmwald, Pastor
Eighth Street Mennonite Church

Firman Gingerich, Pastor
College Mennonite Church

Rev. Alan L. Griffin, Pastor
First Presbyterian Church

Jose Luis Gutíerrez, Pastor
Comunidad Cristiana Adulam A/G

David Helmuth, Overseer
Iglesia Mennonita del Buen Pastor

Samuel Hernández, Pastor
Fuente de Vida

Rev. Clair Hochstetler, Chaplain
Goshen General Hospital

Kristen Hoober, Pastor
College Mennonite Church

Kim Huffman, Sr. Minister
Goshen Christian Church

Nancy Kauffmann, Conference Minister
Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference

 

Douglas Kaufman, Pastor
Benton Mennonite Church

Lois Kaufmann, Co-Pastor
Assembly Mennonite Church

Anita Yoder Kehr, Pastor
Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship

Pastor John von Lackum
Plymouth United Church of Christ

Dean Linsenmeyer, Lead Pastor
North Goshen Mennonite Church

Brenda Meyer, Pastor
Benton Mennonite Church

Victor Mojica, Pastor
Iglesia Hermanos Unidos en Cristo

José Ortiz, Pastor
Iglesia Menonita del Buen Pastor

Brenda Sawatzky Paetkau, Pastor
Eighth Street Mennonite Church

Captain Jason Pollom, Corps Officer
The Salvation Army of Goshen

Duane Schafer, Pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church

Tina Schlabach, Pastor of Care
Waterford Mennonite Church

Dan Schrock, Pastor,
Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship

Troy Scott, Senior Pastor
Goshen First Church of God

Karl S. Shelly, Co-Pastor
Assembly Mennonite Church

Mel L. Shetler, Pastor
Maple City Chapel

Ben W. Shirk, Pastor
Mt Joy Mennonite Church, Goshen

Bob Shreiner, Coordinator of Pastoral Care
Oaklawn Psychiatric Hospital

Steve Slagel, Pastor
East Goshen Mennonite Church

Rev. Christopher L. Smith, Pastor
St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church

Klaudia Smucker, Pastor
College Mennonite Church

Rev. Ron Spyker
Jefferson Brethren Church

Tim Stair, Minister of Outreach
College Mennonite Church

David Swartley, Director of Parish Services
St. James’ Episcopal Church

Steve Thomas, Pastor
Walnut Hill Mennonite Church

Jorge Vielman, Pastor
El Buen Pastor

Tim Waits, Pastor
Rock Run Church of the Brethren

James H. Waltner, Overseer
East Goshen Mennonite Church
North Goshen Mennonite Church

Rosemary Widmer, Pastor
College Mennonite Church

Mary Lehman Yoder, Co-Pastor
Assembly Mennonite Church