The recently appointed Southern Baptist president Ed Litton has partnered with California Baptists to provide an assortment of needs to local migrants.
Litton has had his hands full for the last few months. After dealing with a convention recount and claims of plagiarism, the newly elected Baptist president has spent the last week preparing for the 2022 SBC annual meeting, now scheduled to occur in Anaheim, California. However, that effort did not stop him from also spending some time volunteering. Litton partnered with the San Diego Southern Baptist Association to distribute food and supplies. California has been particularly affected by immigration trends, with 22 percent of immigrants arriving without legal authorization. The San Diego Southern Baptist Association has done its best to relieve these efforts by providing breakfast for migrants who have applied for asylum and are awaiting a response. Many of these migrants are forced to wait in Tijuana, right across the border.
This need inspires many members of the SDSBA to help. Litton told the Baptist Standard, "In this immigrant crisis, Southern Baptist churches are stepping up, and the churches in San Diego are helping by putting the gospel first and foremost, and actually ministering to a reality in their very own community."
Litton himself is a vocal advocate for migrants, seeing them as a group that churches should serve. "The Bible is very clear on how we are to treat the stranger, and they're not to be strangers to us. We're to receive them, and I think Southern Baptists at our best recognize this. I can't think of a better way for someone to come into this country than to come having Christ transform their hearts in the process."
While many Americans may assume that California is a liberal state with few conservative Christians, Litton says this is the opposite. One of the reasons he chose to come to California to plan the next SBC meeting is because of what local churches are doing. "This is a challenging environment, and they've crossed some bridges, and they are doing things here under less favorable circumstances that we need to see. And we need to become a part of it."