6/19/18 Rev. Tom Glasoe (Click here to hear or download the interview)

The Upper Susquehanna Synod Synod Assembly

The Reverend William Henderson of Christ Lutheran Church, Lewisburg, co-author of a resolution adopted by Upper Susquehanna Synod of the ELCA Snyod Assembly last weekend

The Reverend Tom Glasoe

The Reverend Tom Glasoe, Secretary for the Upper Susquehanna Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pottsgrove and Follmer Lutheran Church in Turbot Township, Northumberland County, on the regional Synod’s recent decision to draft, and approve, a resolution opposing the Trump administration’s change in US policy regarding the separation of children from their parents at the southern border. We discuss why the church is involved and what everyman can do. Recorded interview, after the vote, at the annual ‘Synod Assembly’ held by the synod.

Click here to download the Sunrise interview

WHEREAS, according to the Migration Policy Institute, the Obama administration increased detention of
undocumented migrant families by 173 percent in 2015 and continued to increase detentions to the end of
the administration while keeping families together1
; and
WHEREAS, the recent May 7th, 2018 action by the Trump administration to separate children from their
parents who cross the southern border splits parents and children without due process, while detaining
these children in juvenile centers for months at a time2
; and
WHEREAS, it has been suggested3 that the act of separating children from their parents may be
considered torture as defined by the United Nations and adopted by the United States Citizens and
Immigration Services: “Torture is defined as any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical
or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or her or a third
person information or a confession, punishing him or her for an act he or she or a third person has
committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or her or a third person,
or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the
instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official
; and
WHEREAS, the children leaving their native countries often leave to escape severe threats of violence
with little to no financial stability and safe social structure thereby risking bodily harm along the escape
route and often suffer greatly from post-traumatic stress disorders and depression5
; and
WHEREAS these sweeping deportation actions are dividing families and parents from their children
causing “psychological trauma, residential instability, and family dissolution…”6
; and
WHEREAS such separation from family members and their placement with foster care agencies creates
an undue burden on already limited resources of juvenile detention systems across the United States; and
WHEREAS God’s love for the stranger and our calling to love and serve the neighbors God gives to us
are central to the Biblical narrative; and
WHEREAS God’s people have been called to love the stranger in their midst knowing that they were
once strangers in a foreign land (Lev. 19:34); and
WHEREAS God’s people have been called to welcome the stranger in their midst because in so doing
they welcome Christ who promises to be present among those in need of shelter (Mt 25:31-46); and
1 https://thinkprogress.org/churches-open-their-doors-on-christmas-to-immigrants-seeking-refuge-from-dhs-raids74ed0ce2e528/
2 NPR “Sessions Says ‘Zero Tolerance’ for illegal border crossers, vows to divide families” May 7, 2018 3 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2018/05/15/separating-children-from-parents-at-theborder-isnt-just-cruel-its-torture/?utm_term=.346af40a9c01
4 https://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-11261/0-0-0-34922/0-0-0-35186.html 5 http://www.evidenceaid.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/1-s2.0-S0140673611600512-main.pdf 6 https://www.migrationpolicy.org/news/deportation-parent-can-have-significant-and-long-lasting-harmful-effectschild-well-being-pair
WHEREAS the ELCA, in its Social Statement “For Peace in God’s World” has committed to promote
respect for human rights, especially for “groups most susceptible to violations, especially all minorities,
women, and children;” and
WHEREAS immigrant populations have deep roots within our American Lutheran churches and we have
a long history of welcoming migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers as well as advocating for just
immigration policies; and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: The Upper Susquehanna Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
in America meeting in Assembly, June 15, 2018, encourages its congregations and members to call for
humane, compassionate treatment of persons designated as undocumented minors, including maintaining
family unity; and be it further
RESOLVED, the Upper Susquehanna Synod calls upon the United States Congress, the President of the
United States, the Attorney General of the Department of Justice and the Secretary of the Department of
Homeland Security to halt the policy of separating children from their parents at the border or anywhere
undocumented children and their families are found, and be it further
RESOLVED, the Upper Susquehanna Synod urges the Bishop of the synod, or her designee, to make the
synod’s position on this matter known throughout the synod and to the public at large; and be it further
RESOLVED, the Upper Susquehanna Synod calls upon our synod leaders, pastors, deacons, and
congregations to support the work of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, and the ELCA’s
Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities
(AMMPARO) program7
, to welcome immigrants, and to advocate for public policies welcoming the
stranger as we would the Lord. And be it finally
RESOLVED, the Upper Susquehanna Synod act to assist in equipping our congregations, institutions and
ministries to engage in these expressions of advocacy appropriate to local contexts, capacity and
Submitted by
The Rev. Thomas M. Glasoe – Synod Secretary
The Rev. William S. Henderson – Dean, Buffalo Valley Conference
The Rev. James Park Bricker – Dean, Juniata Valley Conference
The Rev. Ted Cockley – Dean, West Branch Conference
The Rev. Robert Doll – Dean, Middle Creek Conference
The Rev. John Koons – Dean, North Branch Conference
The Rev. Andrew Weaver – Dean, Tulpehocken Conference
The Rev. Kristina Schaeffer – Dean-Elect, Middle Creek Conference
The Rev. Cinda Brucker – Pastor of Trinity and Mt. Zion Lutheran Churches, Hughesville
The Rev. Sarah Hershberger – Pastor of Grace, Shamokin
The Rev. Christine Kirchner – Pastor of Mt. Grove Parish, Bloomsburg
The Rev. Justin Lingenfelter, Pastor of United in Christ Lutheran Church, West Milton
Deacon Gary Schaeffer – Pastor of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, Shamokin Dam
Ms. Linda Weaver – Chair of Nomination Committee of Buffalo Valley Conference
Ms. Sue Teisher – Member of Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, Turbotville
7 Details, opportunities, and scop

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