“I’m grateful for the chance to be here to speak in favor of a country that supports refugees and immigrants,” said the Rev. Richard H. Graham, bishop, ELCA Metro D.C. Synod, at a Jan. 25, 2017 press conference sharing an interfaith response to recent executive orders on immigration.

“Our nation needs to be more welcoming, and not less; and more caring, and not less; and more open-minded, and not less.

“As a Lutheran leader, I preach every week in congregations where people remember their immigrant roots: Germans and Swedes and Norwegians and Danes and Slovaks, and now people from Central America and from Ethiopia and from West Africa. We know what it means to have come here from someplace else and to have struggled against the kind of economic hardships and the kind of bigotry that all immigrants have to face.

Photo of Bishop Graham speaking from the steps of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. taken from video posted to FB/Sojourners

Photo of Bishop Graham speaking from the steps of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. taken from video posted to FB/Sojourners

“We count on our government to make things better for these people and not worse. And we hope that as people of faith we can rally together – all of us – to support what seems to be basic American values if not the religious values we hold together.

“It is a terrible thing to feel that your country’s drifting in the wrong direction. We don’t want that to happen. We want to speak out against that. And we want to speak out in favor of the people who come here seeking a better life the way our ancestors came here a while ago.”