May 7, 2013 | 8:14 a.m.
By Suzanne McInroy, Director of Communications
Matthew Soerens of World Relief speaks during the G92 Immigration Conference at Bethel University.
More than 150 people attended the G92 Immigration Conference last month at Bethel University. Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, delivered the keynote address on “Why Immigration Reform is Important for Evangelicals.”
“The Bethel G92 Immigration Gathering kept Jesus and His word at the center of our discussion. We were committed to transcending partisan sound bites and modeling an exceptionally high level of civility as we thought carefully about an issue that is both complicated and important,” explains Matthew Runion, associate campus pastor at Bethel. “Ultimately, our desire is that Bethel will be about the ministry of equipping a new generation of leaders to respond to this issue in a way that exalts Jesus Christ and draws people from every nation to Him.”
The goal of the conference was to discuss a bipartisan solution to immigration reform that followed the objectives in the “Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform,” from the Evangelical Immigration Table, which includes respecting “the God-given dignity of every person” and guaranteeing “secure national borders.” Other conference speakers included Matthew Soerens, U.S. church training specialist for World Relief; Colleen Beebe Purisaca, co-international director of Peace and Hope International; Leon Rodrigues, chief diversity officer at Bethel; and Dave Muhovich, associate professor of nursing at Bethel.
The first G92 conference was held at Cedarville University, Cedarville, Ohio, in October 2011. The conference takes its name from the 92 references to the ger -- the immigrant, in Hebrew -- in the Old Testament. G92 has grown into a national student movement that seeks to understand and respond to the challenges and opportunities of immigration in ways consistent with biblical values of justice, compassion, and hospitality. Fifteen Bethel University students attended the original G92 conference in 2011 and returned to Minnesota with a vision to bring the event to Bethel. “With the help of a passionate donor and the energy and passion of our students, including a ‘next generation’ of student leaders, the event became a reality this year,” says Runion.