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Not Going Quietly: Houston Faith Leaders Stand with Immigrant Community

Executive Director


More than 120 Texans of faith gathered Tuesday at Bering Memorial United Methodist Church in Houston to stand in solidarity with undocumented immigrants at a Prayer Vigil led by leaders of Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith traditions. Sponsored by Texas Impact, the Vigil highlighted the harm created by Texas’s recent anti-immigration Senate Bill 4 and DACA decisions.

Some of the messages from faith leaders who spoke at the event:

Rev. Diane McGehee with Bering Memorial United Methodist Church on why they hosted the vigil and education sessions:

“Bering Memorial United Methodist Church stands for radical inclusion and celebration of ALL of God’s children. It’s our DNA.  It’s who we are and have always been.  We start every worship service with that message of radical hospitality as core to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our immigrant brothers and sisters matter.  We can’t be whole or safe when others are at risk. Right now, our immigrant neighbors are at risk. We convened the prayer vigil as an act of solidarity to pray and stand with, as well as advocate for, them.”

Rabbi Josh Herman of Congregation Beth Israel, speaking during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot:  “We are all welcome in the sukkah. We observe welcoming the stranger by making a place for all our guests to enter and rejoice with us.”

Bishop Scott Jones of the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church:

“We are now living in a political environment that is extraordinarily hostile to those who are among us without appropriate documentation. This is intolerable for our government to decry the kind of values that have made America great and that we in fact need to figure out ways to live into the best values of our people. We are measured by the hospitality we show to people. My friends, I stand before you today to say that the United Methodist Church, along with many of the institutions represented in this program tonight, is committed to doing whatever we can to help welcome the stranger among us.

Imam Mustafa White of the Islamic Circle of North America, Houston:

“This is a country of immigrants who escaped intolerance and oppression and came to America for justice and freedom. Please enlighten the leaders in the White House, in Congress, the United Nations and other political headquarters to practice what they preach. Please inspire us with interfaith engagement and bless us with the sincerity of Abraham, the courage of Moses, the love of Jesus and the wisdom of Mohammed so we can continue the journey of justice as appropriate in our social life.”

Rev. Cassandra Nunez, United Methodist Pastor and DACA Recipient, recounted her story of coming to the United States as a child without proper documents. She tried to apply for a documentation but said that it would have taken 20 years. DACA allowed her to follow her dreams.

“When I heard that DACA was revoked, I was sad because I was going to lose the chance to live a normal life. But I am hopeful today as I see all of you here. I am hopeful for the future because we are getting together because we know this matters, and that you will back me up. This is a scary moment in my life, but I have hope.”

Following the Prayer Vigil, attendees participated in an educational panel regarding DACA advocacy, immigrant rights, and navigating SB4.  The panel featured Anne Chandler, Tahirih; Joy Green, Houston Justice for our Neighbors; Ruby Powers, Ruby Powers Law Firm; Scott Atnip, Texas Impact; and a representative from Houston law enforcement, Rafael Pantoja.

A Facebook Live video of the event is online at:


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