Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

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Efforts to stop the arrest of immigrant man commended

In the letter below, Global Ministries’ chief executive Thomas Kemper commends the Rev. Ismael Ruiz-Millán, an agency director from North Carolina, for his effort - for which he was arrested - to stop the arrest of Samuel Oliver-Bruno, 47, an immigrant in the process of applying to remain in the U.S. to tend to his sick wife.

Susan Henry Crowe, general secretary of the General Board of Church and Society, has also released a statement of solidarity.


Dear Ismael,

Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ; I greet you as a trusted colleague and, for the last seven years, a director of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. Thank you for your witness to justice and righteousness in the defense of an immigrant who had lived in sanctuary for 11 months at City Wells United Methodist Church, Durham, North Carolina.

God blesses you for joining with others in attempting to thwart the November 23 arrest of Samuel Oliver-Bruno, 47. We understand federal agents seized him as he was filing for application at an immigration office in Morrisville, North Carolina, asking to remain in the United States to care for his sick wife.

You and your colleagues showed courage and the strength of faith in surrounding the van in which Mr. Oliver-Bruno was placed by the agents for transport to a detention center.

You have taken seriously the United Methodist position advocating the unification of immigrant families and carried out the spirit of our denomination’s support for congregations wishing to offer sanctuary to immigrants.

We at Global Ministries stand in solidarity with you and those arrested with you and with the courageous people of City Wells Church who granted sanctuary to Mr. Oliver-Bruno. We will remember all of you in prayer in our service this week.

We will continue to pray for your witness as you face your January court date on federal misdemeanor charges of failing to disperse and obstructing a federal officer.

In mission together,

Thomas Kemper
General Secretary
Global Ministries