Ekklesia reports that the US has denied visas to people attending denominational conferences:
When the Baptist World Alliance held its global conference in Hawaii earlier in August, it was missing about 1000 attendees from around the world.
In June, the inaugural meeting of the World Communion of Reformed Churches in Grand Rapids, in the US state of Michigan, was missing 74, and the Seventh-day Adventists’ general conference in Atlanta was missing about 200, Religion News Service reports.
The three church groups said foreign delegates’ visas were denied by US officials, meaning some nations lacked representation at the global assemblies which occur only once every several years.
The Rev Susan Davies of the United Church of Christ said she was “outraged” at the WCRC visa denials. Organisers of the gathering erected a banner to mark their absence.
”I was deeply saddened” by the visa problems, said the Rev Clifton Kirkpatrick, the former president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, which merged with another group in Grand Rapids to form the World Communion of Reformed Churches.
”I don’t think you hear of government events or corporate events that have this percentage of people denied visas.”
Will this make exchanges with our partners in mission more difficult. What will we need to do to ensure easy exchanges for visitors?