Congregational Meeting to Consider Sanctuary Movement Vote
Sun, Jan 21 • 11:30 am
When an immigrant resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the immigrant. The immigrant who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the immigrant as yourself, for you were an immigrant in the land of Egypt. (Jewish and Christian Tradition, Leviticus 19:33-34)
The Church Council has called a meeting of the congregation on Sunday, Jan 21 at 11:30 am to formally establish Skyline Church, United Church of Christ as a Sanctuary Congregation.
I want to extend my deepest thanks to the leadership and dedication of Mirtha Ninayahuar, and Nancy Taylor.
The meeting will take place in the Sanctuary immediately following the 10 am service. During the past year, the council and the congregation heard from members of the Planning Team for the Sanctuary Movement about what declaring itself as a “Sanctuary Congregation” would mean for Skyline.
Evolving Definition of Sanctuary
The Sanctuary Movement, which began in the 1980s, is experiencing a resurgence. But today it has a slightly different meaning. Originally it was a movement of churches and political activists to shelter Central American refugees fleeing civil conflict and trying to avoid deportation. It has since expanded to “a broader range of thinking by faith communities as to how they can be helpful to communities of undocumented persons.” See this description below, which includes the 4 categories of being a sanctuary. Here are sanctuary activities Skyline is already involved in.
Some churches are part of the movement by offering resources, such as food and supplies, while others will provide education and advocacy and accompaniment, and still others, rapid response, and still others, housing for undocumented persons. Any one or more of these 4 categories constitutes being a sanctuary church. We are involved in all areas except providing physical housing.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Would we be breaking the law? “There is a law against bringing in and harboring persons not authorized to be in the U.S. (INA Sec.274). Some courts have interpreted harboring to require concealment of a person, when we declare Sanctuary for an individual we are bringing them into the light of the community, not concealing them in the dark of secrecy (U.S. V Costello, 66 F.3d 1040, 7th Cir. 2012). Other courts have interpreted harboring to be simple sheltering (U.S. V Acosta de Evans, 531 F.2d 428 (9th Cir. 1976)… To date no one has ever been arrested for offering Sanctuary.” – From the New Sanctuary Toolkit
- What prevents ICE from entering a church to execute a deportation order? There is nothing that categorically prevents ICE from entering a church, however there is an existing Memo (https://www.ice.gov/doclib/ero-outreach/pdf/10029.2-policy.pdf) that advises officers and agents to avoid “sensitive locations” including schools, hospitals, churches, and the site of a public demonstration.
- Why not just keep on doing service, why bother voting? Voting offers political strength to the cities of Berkeley and Oakland, as well as to the state of California that have voted to become sanctuary. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/california-sanctuary-state_us_59ce7423e4b05f005d341453 Voting represents another form of spiritual courage and resistance to laws which punish hardworking civic minded people who are contributing to our cities and states.
- Who are the members of the Sanctuary Movement Planning Team?
Contact Mirtha Ninayahuar, Nancy Taylor, Rev Laurie Manning
- What other faith congregations in the Bay area are sanctuary? http://www.im4humanintegrity.org/sanctuary-map-northern-california/
- Other Resources?
We look forward to your attendance at this important milestone in Skyline’s history on January 21 at 11:15 AM