The United Methodist Stance on Immigration and Refugees

By WV UMC Admin

Ken Krimmel, Director of Connectional Ministries, speaks with Tim Edin, Conference Coordinator for Immigration and Refugee Ministries about what we believe, as United Methodists, about the issues surrounding Immigration and Refugees.

For more information: Contact Rev. Tim Edin, Coordinator for the West Virginia Conference Immigration and Refugee Ministries via email:

Tim will come speak to your church group and he can also direct you to resources that will facilitate thoughtful conversations in the local church.

The United Methodist Church has several official statements related to immigration.

The 2016 Book of Discipline – Social Principles

Rights of Immigrants

We recognize, embrace, and affirm all persons, regardless of country of origin, as members of the family of God. We affirm the right of all persons to equal opportunities for employment, access to housing, health care, education, and freedom from social discrimination.

We urge the Church and society to recognize the gifts, contributions, and struggles of those who are immigrants and to advocate for justice for all.

We oppose immigration policies that separate family members from each other or that include detention of families with children, and we call on local churches to be in ministry with immigrant families.

Foreign Workers

The Book of Resolutions:
Call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
US Immigration and Family Unity
Welcoming the Migrant to the US
Global Migration
United States-Mexico Border

Social Justice Agency of The United Methodist Church Stands With Immigrants and Refugees
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:    January 26, 2017

Rejects policies that deny dignity and worth

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the Trump administration took executive action to expand the U.S.-Mexico border wall, increase the powers of immigration law enforcement and cut federal funding for sanctuary cities. The administration is expected to announce further action to halt the acceptance of refugees, and discriminate against Muslim refugees seeking asylum.

The General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church calls upon all policy makers to work for just and compassionate migration policies that affirm the worth, dignity, and inherent value and rights of all persons regardless of nationality or legal status. (2016 Book of Resolutions, #3281 “Welcoming the Migrant to the United States”)

Supportive of churches offering sanctuary to migrants, Church and Society is especially concerned about the explicit targeting of communities determined to help those in need. Such policies are antithetical to the life and teaching of Jesus Christ and will not be celebrated as progress.

“As followers of Jesus, we reject in the strongest terms efforts to expand the U.S.-Mexico border wall, penalize communities providing sanctuary, halt refugee resettlement or impose a religious test for those facing forced migration.”

said the Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary of the General Board of Church and Society.

“Immigrants and refugees sit in our pews and are behind the pulpit. United Methodists around the world are loving their neighbors by welcoming refugees and immigrants into their congregations and communities,” Henry-Crowe continued. “We call on our political leaders and policy makers to follow their lead and compassionately welcome our sisters and brothers.”


The General Board of Church and Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. The board is called to seek the implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements of the General Conference on Christian social concerns.

Additional resources for local congregations:

Welcoming the Migrant to the United States #3281, a resolution from 2016 General Conference

Resources from the United Methodist Church

UMCOR resources:

UMW Global Migration and Immigration Rights Resources

A message from Thomas G. Kemper, general secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries

Follow this link for a video that shares how United Methodist Churches around Germany are welcoming refugees and migrants

Follow this link for resources from the General Board of Church and Society regarding immigration:  Some of the resources include small group study guides.

Since the November election, more than 800 places of worship nationwide vowed to shelter and protect immigrants in danger of separation from their families or being returned to countries they fled.  Follow this link to learn more:

Praying for guidance
United Methodist churches held prayer vigils across the country on Inauguration Day. New York Area Bishop Thomas Bickerton held a day of action to take compassion to the streets in a part of the country that has large immigrant populations.

“One of the things we are dealing with is pastor after pastor with immigrants in their congregations who are afraid and very uncertain about their future,” he said.

Members of the conference’s immigration task force and other church leaders visited a food pantry, participated in a “Know Your Rights” seminar, held a prayer vigil and hosted a forum on immigration issues.

“The goal is to engage with folks who are uncertain and afraid, to hold their hands and pray with them,” he said.

Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton told those gathered at the New York Conference’s Immigration Vigil and Forum that this “can be, and should be, the church’s greatest hour.” The event on Jan. 20 was sponsored by the conference’s Task Force on Immigration and the General Board of Church & Society. Photo courtesy of New York Conference.