CRC Leaders Speak Out on Quebec City and Immigration

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On January 30, Steven Timmermans, executive director of the Christian Reformed Church in North America released a statement regarding a shooting at a mosque in Quebec City and the executive order by U.S. President restricting entry into the U.S. by travelers, including refugees, from seven Muslim-majority countries.

“While the events in Quebec and across the United States are separate from each other, they both force us to pause and consider how the church should respond to the needs of Muslims, immigrants, and refugees among us,” Timmermans wrote.

On Sunday, January 29, a lone gunman entered a mosque in Quebec City and opened fire on men attending evening prayers. Six men died and many more were wounded. The gunman was subsequently arrested. The act of terrorism sent shock waves across Canada and around the world.

The CRC’s Canadian Ministries director Darren Roorda sent a letter to Canadian congregations lamenting the events in Quebec City and inviting churches to join together in prayer for those who are grieving. He also asked that church members pray for Canada, “that we will all stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters, and that we will recommit ourselves to opposing hate and prejudice so that instances like this will not happen again.”

More CRC ministry leaders also spoke out. Mike Hogeterp, director of the CRC Centre for Public Dialogue, denounced the shooting as an act of religious persecution.

Regarding the executive order by President Trump about immigration, Timmermans’ statement reminded the church that Synod 2010 instructed churches to “speak out against and seek to reform laws and practices concerning the treatment of immigrants that appear to be unduly harsh or unjust.”

The Office of Social Justice sent out an action alert urging Christians to write to members of the U.S. Congress, opposing the executive order. “A ‘pause’ on the entire United States Refugees Admissions Program, which will force ministries that resettle refugees to lay off employees, cripple the infrastructure we have built to find homes for refugees who come, and potentially shut down ministries that the CRC has long supported.”

World Renew posted the following statement on its website: “World Renew will continue to respond to the needs of refugees in their countries of origin, and will seek to advocate for them in their countries of refuge.”

About the Author

Gayla Postma retired as news editor for The Banner in 2020.

See comments (1)


I am thankful that our church leadership is stepping up and addressing the problems, and calling us to action.  But there was one phrase in the statements that needs addressing:

"While the events in Quebec and across the US are seperate from each other..."

I think Americans underestimate the enormous empowering impact Trump has had on alt-right supporters and other types of Xenophobia here in Canada.  Witnesses tell us that the shooter in Quebec was alt-right and a Trump admirer.  In that light, it seems far more than coincidental that he chose to shoot Muslims the day that anti-Muslim rhetoric is peaking among the American alt-right in response to the executive order and subsequent judicial stay.  Then, the inappropriate comments from the White House Press Secretary on this event took it a step further, with a government official essentially using the murder of Canadians to justify the vigilance of Trump's executive order.  

Perhaps Mr. Timmermans released the statement before the identity of the shooter was made known and before Spicer made his remarks.  But I hope my American brothers and sisters will remember that they do not stand alone in this world, we are all members of the same Kingdom.  When one member hurts, we all hurt.