A perfect paragraph, a shockingly grand insight that rattles the cosmos, a fluid narrative turn that leaps the rails, these are the reasons we read.
I always have a stack of next books to read. I try to range wide and deep. Dig into the right book, at the right time, and the muscles at the back of my head, near the neck, change their composition, wag their tails and release some sort of transcendental remedy that makes everything okay.
I don't finish every book I start, and there are a good number of thicker text that crowd the nightstand for years, but the anticipation of reading a book, the free possibility of it, the play of interaction between the worlds each text represents, all of this is worth the space it takes, even the dust it collects, because the world is made somehow larger and more grand simply because they exist.
More than once, I've taken more books than pairs of socks on a trip. And I've never regretted it, even though I seldom finish every book that makes the journey. The books are just part of the journey, and the carrying of them a mild compulsion that feeds the soul.
So here's the stack, with just a bit of commentary mixed in.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
When I think of Lent, I think of fish sandwiches. I know, this isn't the most pious of associations, but having grown up in a predominately Lutheran and Catholic community in Iowa, even the school lunch calendar was subject to the liturgical seasons. So every Friday during Lent, we'd get fish sandwiches. I love fish sandwiches, so I was pleased. I also knew that this school lunch schedule was influenced somehow by a call to fast from meat on Fridays during the Lenten season.
Fast forward to the present. I now live in Arkansas, a state with far fewer Catholics and Lutherans.
I frequently get asked: Why do you put that ash on your heads at the beginning of the season? Why do you give things up for Lent? What is Lent, anyway?
Let's take these in turn. First, Lent is a solemn religious observance that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends about six weeks later (40 days), before Easter Sunday.
Ash Wednesday is a midweek liturgy (this year it falls on March 1st). During this service, worshippers make preparations for the season. There's a call to repentance, with prayers of confession. The worship leader calls the assembly to commit to the three primary disciplines of Lent--fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. Then the community comes forward for the imposition of ashes on their foreheads, including a spoken reminder of our mortality--"Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return" (echoing Genesis 3:20).
The assembly is then called to the traditional disciplines of Lent. These are worth a closer look.
The first discipline of Lent is the one related to fish sandwiches--fasting. Over the centuries, the church has called the people of God to fast in various ways. One of the most common fasts is from rich foods. This is why some people give up chocolate, or wine, or meat for Lent. Personally, this year I'm going to fast from meat and fried foods (so no fish sandwiches).
Fasting in the Christian tradition is complicated. We're aware that the prophets called the people to a different kind of fast.
Isaiah 58.6 Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
And Matthew 6:17, one of the texts read at Ash Wednesday service, directly instructs the community not to fast in ways that draw direct attention to the fasting.
What does this mean for Lent? Well, it means that social justice is a crucial, perhaps the crucial theme for Lent. We are called during Lent as the form of our fast to loose the bonds of injustice, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke.
This is a very active form of fasting. In addition to, or as supplement to, the fast of social justice, Christians over the centuries have learned that traditional fasting (from meat and rich foods, or even fasting from food altogether) can strengthen the efforts of the community in social justice. Fasting makes the community stronger (see Daniel 1:12).
Then there are two other Lenten commitments. There's a commitment to almsgiving. Almsgiving is simple: it's giving gifts to the poor. This is not giving with strings attached (like, for example, giving food stamps but only with the addendum that 'junk' food is forbidden). You give to the poor simply because it is good to give.
There's a significant passage in the apocrypha related to almsgiving that is worth quoting.
Tobit 12.8 Prayer with fasting is good, but better than both is almsgiving with righteousness. A little with righteousness is better than wealth with wrongdoing. It is better to give alms than to lay up gold. 9 For almsgiving saves from death and purges away every sin. Those who give alms will enjoy a full life.
Significantly, this passage places almsgiving even above prayer and fasting in terms of value, which is likely related to the prophetic insight that the fast God desires is a fast that accomplishes good for the oppressed.
For this Lenten season, our congregation is going to focus our devotional time each week on economic justice. Each Wednesday, we'll gather for a soup supper at 6:00 p.m. Then at 6:30, we'll sing Holden Evening Prayer, and conclude with a meditation on God and economic justice.During this five-week series, we will uncover how our Lutheran faith shapes our perspective and role in the economy. Each week, we will look at one key aspect of the economy and explore questions related to economic justice. As we journey through the study, I encourage you to use ELCA World Hunger’s “40 Days of Giving” daily devotional calendar to reflect on economics, hunger, hope and faith throughout the weeks of Lent (you can sign up for the daily devotional here).
Finally, Lent is a season steeped in prayer. Prayer has a certain mystique in our culture. It's both simple and complex, easy and awkward. During this season, one simple way we increase your opportunity to pray is by adding the second mid-week service where we sing evening prayer. I encourage you to consider other prayer resources that might suit your prayer habits. One of my favorites is simply to pray the daily prayer offices.
The whole season of Lent is, in another sense, solemn preparation for our observance of Holy Week. The focus of our fasting, almsgiving, and prayer is deepening attention to the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. We observe Lent that we might convert our time-keeping more to the holy time of God in Christ.
Monday, February 13, 2017
A Faithful Witness to Building Welcoming Communities
For pdf, visit What is Sanctuary? - Unitarian Universalist Association
You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.”
- Psalm 91:1-2
As the faith community, we are called to accompany our community members, congregants and neighbors facing deportation.
Sanctuary Movement and the Immigrants’ Rights Movement
People of faith from all traditions called on Congress to pass immigration reform, yet Congress failed to move forward on meaningful legislation. Meanwhile, the deportation machinery grew stronger becoming more advanced under the Obama Administration, with an alarming rate of more than 1,100 people being deported every day, totaling nearly 2.5 million deportations over under this administration. The organizing efforts of undocumented youth in 2012 pushed the administration to create the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has allowed close to a million undocumented students to travel and work legally.
In 2014 a resurgence of the Sanctuary Movement began out of need in the community to stop deportations at a case-by-case level. In May of 2014 Daniel Neyoy Ruiz took Sanctuary in Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson Arizona, the same church that helped nearly fifteen thousand political refugees escape the tragic civil wars in Central America during the 1980s. Daniel won a stay of removal after 27 days of living in Sanctuary. As this spread through the media at a time when President Obama was delaying Executive Actions on immigration, many more immigrants facing a deportation order looked to congregations in their region to take refuge and fight to keep their families together. Over the next years more than a dozen people came forward to take refuge in Sanctuary, the majority were able to win a stay of removal or an order of supervision within several months, but the Immigration Customs Enforcement delayed justice on many occasions such as with Rosa Robles-Loreto who only found victory after 461 days of Sanctuary. Some left the church with a written promise from ICE they would not be deported, but they continue to fight their case to gain some sort of relief from deportation.
This resurgence of the Sanctuary Movement has created a platform to raise up the prophetic and moral witness while at the same time lifting up the stories of those leaders who are brave enough to speak out against the injustice of deportation. This surly brought significantly increased public pressure on the Obama Administration to announce the President’s Executive Action on Immigration on November 20th, 2014.
Now the Sanctuary Movement again is playing a critical role in responding in the post-election reality wherein fear, discrimination and xenophobia has taken a new precedent in our countries politics. With the promise of the Trump Administration to deport millions, people of faith we have a moral responsibility to act. Sanctuary is a tool that helps escalate these efforts by offering our neighbors who face a deportation order safe refuge and sanctuary in our congregations.
What is Sanctuary?
An Ancient Tradition of Faith Communities
Sanctuary is one of the most ancient traditions that we have as a people of faith. The ancient Hebrew people had allowed temples and even whole cities to declare themselves places of refuge for persons accused of a crime they may not have committed, a practice that allowed those wrongfully accused to escape swift and harsh retribution until the matter could be resolved. In the late Roman Empire fugitives could find refuge in the precincts of Christian churches. Later, during the medieval period churches in England were recognized sanctuaries, offering safe haven for a temporary period to accused wrong doers. In the United States the first practical provision of anything like sanctuary occurred in the years before the Civil War. The Underground Railroad came into being to help slaves flee the South and find safety in many congregations throughout the country. Sanctuary is about providing safe space to those who are victims of unjust laws.
The Sanctuary Movement in the 1980s
When refugees from the Civil Wars in Central America began to flee to the United States in the 1980’s, the U.S. government did not recognize them as political refugees. Many were deported and received by death squads upon their return. From this dire injustice, the Sanctuary Movement was born. It peaked with over 500 congregations establishing an underground railroad whereby refugees move through the United States to safe houses and safe congregations. Many clergy in the Tucson area were indicted and eventually acquitted for their involvement in assisting Central American refugees. The Sanctuary Movement sought to remind the United States government of its own asylum and refugee laws, which they were not following when it came to the refugees of Central America.
· God calls people of faith to remember that they once were strangers in a strange land and they must, must welcome the stranger as an expression of covenant faithfulness (Leviticus 19:33-34)
· We must “learn to do good, seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17)
· We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27)
LINKS on Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s
The Public Sanctuary Movement: A Historical Basis of Hope by Eileen Purcell
The Origins of a Political Trial: The Sanctuary Movement and Political Justice by Sophie H. Pririe
Current Day Sanctuary Movement
Drawing on this tradition, communities of faith have once again seen the need to declare Sanctuary for immigrants as the rise of deportations continues to separate families. In the 1980’s we were compelled by the call to welcome the stranger, as we opened our doors to newly arriving refugees. Now we are moved by the call to love our neighbors as ourselves, as those who are entering into Sanctuary are most often long term members of our communities - our neighbors.
In 2007, an initiative known as the New Sanctuary Movement took shape with coalitions of congregations in major cities throughout the country. As work place and neighborhood raids escalated, these congregations opened their doors to provide refuge to those facing deportation. See NSM toolkit here (http://imirj.org/new-sanctuary-movement-toolkit-for-congregations/).
The New Sanctuary Movement helped win the Morton Memo and Prosecutorial Discretion in 2011 and President Obama’s Executive Actions on Immigration in 2014, which has helped stop thousands of deportations through case-by-case advocacy. Those entering sanctuary are generally eligible for Prosecutorial Discretion, but local ICE field offices have been very reluctant to offer this relief from deportations in which the community has had to engage in public advocacy to win stays of removal or an order of supervision and in most cases.
With a Trump Administration we could potentially lose these victories, so we must work together to advocate and fight to keep prosecutorial discretion guidelines where community members can still win a stay of removal and be able to keep united with their families while having the opportunity to get a work permit and drivers license.
Executive Actions on Immigration
After countless actions, vigils, prayer services and even civil disobedience as a prophetic witness the Obama Administration set forth the Executive Actions on Immigration on November 20th, 2014 that would benefit 5 million undocumented people. This was a huge victory for the immigrants’ rights movement. As expected, our opponents hit back hard attacking the President’s announcement, attempting to move legislation against Executive Action (which failed to pass) and 26 Republican Governors filed a lawsuit in Texas. The judges ruled according to partisan lines and enjoined the Executive Actions that would expand Deferred Action. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court, but there were only 8 justices and so the decision on DAPA was tied 4-4 meaning it went back to the lower court decision and DAPA was never put into affect.
The Trump Administration has promised to rescind Executive Actions of President Obama, and so these Prosecutorial Discretion guidelines are expected to change.
Central American and Haitian Humanitarian Crisis
In the summer of 2014, an influx of unaccompanied children and families fleeing gang violence in Central America’s Northern Triangle began presenting themselves at the U.S.- Mexico border seeking asylum. Many of these children and families who have lost their asylum cases because they were unable to find legal counsel or due to “rocket dockets” that are meant to expedite trials but in reality deny due process. These children and families should have the opportunity to appeal their case with adequate representation.
The overall deportation numbers of fiscal year 2015 was 235, 413 significantly lower than the 2012 all time high of 409, 849 as a result from Executive Action. However, the Obama administration seems to have made the political calculation they need to get their quotas up and have chosen to target Central American asylum-seeking families for deportation.
Haitians have begun presenting themselves at the border for asylum at new levels. Advocates have called to provide Temporary Protective Status for Haitians because of the 2010 earthquake and 2016 Hurricane Matthew, but the Obama administration has responded with expedited removal proceedings instead, giving little time for Haitians to present their asylum case.
The Trump Administration may try to ignore the asylum seekers all together and deport them immediately. We will have to stand up and protect our asylum laws and ensure that asylum seekers actually get their case heard with legal assistance and enough time to prepare the case. The Sanctuary network will be extremely important in supporting Central Americans and Haitian asylum seekers.
Sanctuary Goals and Strategy
As the faith community, we are called to accompany our community members, congregants and neighbors facing deportation. By offering sanctuary we can fight individual cases, advocate to stop deportations, and make it possible to win deferred action at a case-by-case level to keep families together.
Amplify the moral imperative to stop deportations by lifting up the stories of sanctuary cases and ensuring the prophetic witness of the immigrant taking sanctuary is heard at the national level.
Defend administrative policies such as Prosecutorial Discretion so that we can still win stays of deportation case by case and keep sacred spaces and schools protected under the Sensitive Locations guidelines
Work alongside undocumented students to defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program (DACA)
Support local work to defend Sanctuary cities or local detainer policies and push back against unjust enforcement policies such as the Priority Enforcement Program or 287 g in the jails
Participate and help create protection networks to provide know your rights education, sanctuary space, legal assistance, housing assistance, family planning and bail support funds
Stop the Trump border wall and any attempt to increase criminalization or mandatory sentencing for immigrants
Defend asylum seekers by pushing back against expedited removal and helping provide critical resources such as legal assistance so they can defend and win their case.
Expanding Sanctuary Beyond the Congregations
Congregations, schools, and hospitals are considered “sensitive locations” under the ICE Sensitive Locations policy, but this policy could be revoked. Students are beginning to organize on college campuses to call on university administrations to create safe spaces on campuses and not collaborate with ICE. Campus organizers will be working to protect undocumented students by organizing to keep the DACA program intact. Sanctuary cities have come out declaring they will continue to be Sanctuary cities in midst of a Trump Administration. We must protect and expand Sanctuary spaces.
Sanctuary in the Streets
As a result of announcement of increased raids by the Obama Administration last year, many have organized rapid response networks. New Sanctuary Movement Philadelphia created the Sanctuary in the Streets to bring faith communities to protect people in their homes, should ICE arrive.
Know Your Rights
It is imperative to educate all immigrant communities on know-your-rights resources. The most important information is DON’T OPEN THE DOOR to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), police or anyone else if they do not have a warrant signed by a judge.
Report When A Raid Is Happening:
TEXT ALERTS WATCH ICE: 877877
Find Partner Organizations
Talking Points/ Messaging
General Talking Points:
· As the faith community, we are doing what Congress has refused to do: protect immigrant families from an immigration system that is separating families and deporting people who are woven into the fabric of their communities and congregations.
· The immigrant community is very concerned about the prospects of a Trump Administration, but they are also ready to fight against unjust immigration policies expected to come. The role of the faith community is to walk in solidarity and accompany immigrant leaders in this struggle for civil and human rights. We are preparing to build out our movement for Sanctuary and for those of us who are ready to resist, we will put our bodies between ICE and our undocumented community members.
· The intention to focus on immigrants with criminal convictions is designed to criminalize the entire immigrant community. Undocumented immigrants might have an immigration related conviction or they may have been targeted by a policing system that is racially biased focused on low-income people of color. We are the faith community, we believe in transformation and forgiveness, even if someone has made a mistake in the past doesn’t mean they should be deported and separated from their family.
· We know that Sanctuary Cities or limited detainer policies actually create a safer community for all people, so that law enforcement can try and build trust with the immigrant community and victims or witnesses aren’t scared to come forward.
· We are seeing a widespread and growing commitment by faith communities to provide sanctuary to our community members who will need sanctuary because of the expected harsh policies expected in the next administration.
· Our congregations open their doors to provide sanctuary we stand in solidarity with immigrant leaders fighting to keep all families together, regardless of immigration status.
· Neither the Obama administration nor the Trump Administration should target Central Americans or Haitian families seeking asylum, but should instead utilize their resources towards to provide legal representation to those who have been unable to attain assistance.
· Detention and deportation has become a money making business that is feeding the prison industrial complex and lining the pockets of private corporations with billions of dollars.
· We are have worked hard to hold the Obama administration, ICE and DHS accountable to their and we will continue to fight, and make sure the Trump Administration listens to the voice and stories of immigrant leaders who deserve justice, not deportation.
· We are praying for the future administration will take a position of discernment, compassion and morality with the understanding to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival that has benefited nearly a million undocumented youth.
Talking Points for Specific Sanctuary Cases:
· As people of faith, we are called to welcome the sojourner and love our neighbor. In the case of INSERT NAME, he/she has been part of our community for a long time. He/she is not a stranger but our neighbor and we are accompanying him as he stands up for his right to stay united with his family
· INSERT NAMES want to make sure their family stays together and that INSERT NAME does not become one of the hundreds of people unnecessarily deported each day under the current administration's policies.
· One of our key belief statements as the DENOMINATION is: INSERT STATEMENT. As in the tradition of the prophets and apostles, God calls the church to speak truth to power, liberate the oppressed, care for the poor and comfort the afflicted. We are responsible to a higher calling, a higher law that takes precedent over our flawed and outdated immigration laws.
· The church has been a space of sanctuary for those wrongly persecuted for thousands of years. The ability to provide humanitarian sanctuary defines who we are and our call as people of faith to care for the most vulnerable among us.
· We witnessed the power of the Sanctuary Movement was in the 1980s. The church was able to protect Central Americans from being deported and returned to death squads in the Civil Wars they faced at home, which the United States refused to recognize. Thousands upon thousands of lives were spared because of the Sanctuary movement.
· Now in the midst of a new Administration that has promised extreme measure persecuting immigrants, faith communities once again must demonstrate leadership and action to keep families together, to keep parents with their children, to protect our brothers and sisters like INSERT NAME, from this grave injustice.
Who are those seeking Sanctuary?
Most Sanctuary cases begin with a lawyer or legal service clinic identify someone who has been working to stop their deportation order without success. The legal service team assesses whether someone will be eligible for prosecutorial discretion. Those who enter into Sanctuary should have a reasonable potential of receiving a stay of removal, order of supervision or some other form of administrative relief.
The legal service team then consults with Sanctuary organizers and involved pastor to begin a conversation about a potential Sanctuary case. Ideally this happens months in advance, but sometimes the individual comes to a legal clinic or local organizers in the 11th hour, requiring a congregation to act quickly.
Each case is different, sometimes often there is a family linked that would be separated, but not always.
How do we “Declare Sanctuary?”
The public aspect of the Declaration of Sanctuary is critical. It is by bringing attention to the case, mobilizing the community, and advocating for the individual that we are able to successfully get cases closed. We encourage every community of faith to enter into a time of prayer and discernment so that when cases arise, they are ready to act. Once a congregation has made the decision to declare Sanctuary for an individual it is publicly announced at a press conference and prayer vigil, at which time the individual and their family enters into the premises of the house of worship. The individual in need of Sanctuary remains at the house of worship until they are granted a stay of deportation. Of course, an individual may decide at any time to leave Sanctuary for any reason and should have the full support of the community to do so. Living within Sanctuary is not an easy thing; the financial cost of not working, the media attention, and the strain on a family can all be burdensome.
There has been liturgy developed by Southside Presbyterian Church and Shadow Rock UCC in Phoenix that can be adapted for a prayer vigil declaring Sanctuary, but individual congregations should develop liturgy that is appropriate to their own religious background and setting.
One of the most important aspects to Sanctuary is the advocacy that we do on behalf of an individual. In partnership with legal service providers and immigrants’ rights organizers a strategy is developed and a multitude of different people are identified as the focus of our efforts, local ICE field office, ICE headquarters, Department of Homeland Security and the White House in general. They and other members of the administration are the focus of phone calls and letter writing. There is also a great deal of work organizing a broad base of support for the individual as well as finding key allies. Often the City Council and the Board of Supervisors as well as local religious leaders are approached to use their power and influence to get the individual’s case closed. We are always working to get more letters of support, more petitions signed, phone calls dialed in and more congregations working with us. We have developed relationships with key allies in Washington, DC and partnerships with national organizations who have worked closely with us on cases. Having an effective media plan is extremely important in garnering the type of attention needed to sway decision makers to close the deportation case.
The type of case by case advocacy to win a stay of removal is likely to become much more difficult under the Trump Administration, but we will fight to keep Prosecutorial Discretion guidelines that weigh positive equities of each case and continue to allow our undocumented community members to win a stay of removal to defer their deportation order.
Petitions with Groundswell:
Sample Letter of Support from Good Shepherd United Church of Christ
Work to get Denominational Support
United Church of Christ News reports on Denver launching Sanctuary Coalition
Leadership of those in Sanctuary
This is perhaps the most important aspect of Sanctuary; we are not the leaders of this movement, those in Sanctuary are. It has been the courage and the faith of those who have come out of the shadows to say, “we are undocumented and we are unafraid” that has inspired our work. Those taking Sanctuary are putting everything on the line and are often risking a great deal for the benefit of the larger movement; their leadership, their voice, their opinions and wisdom should be prioritized at all times. They should be involved in every aspect of the campaign as they choose to be. Sanctuary is hard work and requires great sacrifice - if at any time a family wishes to leave Sanctuary, their wishes should be respected and celebrated. We should always remember that Sanctuary is not something that we do for our undocumented brothers and sisters; it is something we do with them. This is a great leadership development opportunity for those taking Sanctuary, please share leadership development resources, as you are able with the broader network.
What are the logistics of Sanctuary?
Ideally, the family will have space on the grounds of the house of worship that will not be used for any other purpose for the duration of Sanctuary. They should be encouraged to arrange the room in whatever way they would like and to make it as much like home as they can. Easy access to showers, bathrooms, and a kitchen should be considered in designating a space for the family (sometimes showers will need to be configured in some way for those locations without permanent showers). Because the entire purpose of declaring Sanctuary is to keep a family together, the entire family is invited to stay at the house of worship. While the individual living in Sanctuary does not leave the premises, the family comes and goes as they choose. At times visitors and media can overwhelm the family. They should be encouraged to establish whatever boundaries they need.
It is the practice of immigration officials and law enforcement agencies to respect the sanctity of houses of worship by not coming on their property for the purpose of apprehending an individual who has an order of deportation.
It is possible that under the Trump Administration we will see the need to house many undocumented people at once or that allies will have to go to where an enforcement action is happening to try and block that deportation.
Everyone always wants to know - are we breaking the law? Law is a lot like scripture - its up to your interpretation. There is a law against bringing in and harboring persons not authorized to be in the U.S. (insert footnote. INA Sec.274) While we are clearly not bringing people in, whether we are harboring someone is up for interpretation. 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).
Those who are entering sanctuary will most likely have an opportunity to win relief from deportation, this means that they are not a high priority for deportation and that ICE can and should grant them prosecutorial discretion. In essence, the Sanctuary Movement is holding the administration accountable to their own standards and guidelines as put forth by the President’s Executive Actions.
There is risk in offering Sanctuary, however, the field practice over the last forty years shows that no congregation has been prosecuted for allowing undocumented people to find shelter and safety in their house of worship.
The space of sanctuary is sacred. Immigration officials know that if they went into a house of worship to arrest a pastor they would have a public relations nightmare on their hands. To date no one has ever been arrested for offering Sanctuary.
New Sanctuary Movement Legal Toolkit http://lynnhopkinsgroup.com/Toolkit1.pdf
The General Liability Insurance should cover any mishaps that could occur while someone is living in Sanctuary. We have never had any incidents wherein a congregation had to make an insurance claim, however, if you would like to talk with your insurance company please do.
What is “Private” Sanctuary?
This is a tactic often used before a public sanctuary case is launched. Many coalitions have taken someone into Sanctuary, and used the threat of going public in negotiation processes with ICE officials with the intention of winning a stay of removal before launching a public cases. The Sanctuary Movement has won many cases this way and should be considered a part of the strategy before going public to the media.
Families living in Sanctuary are often in need of support in a multitude of different ways. Most importantly they need the support of our friendship - so plan game nights, hang out with them, do what you can to make them feel at home and a part of your congregational family. It is also important that they are able to retain some normalcy as a family - enabling them to cook for they can help with this. You may find that congregation members will want to show their love and support by bringing food, which may be helpful a few nights a week, but it is important that the family is able to care for themselves and control as much as possible in a situation that is very much out of their control. Instead of bringing meals, encourage people to bring food that they can cook with.
There may also be the need for financial support, particularly if the individual in Sanctuary normally works. People should be encouraged to give to the family, either directly or through the house of worship (these donations to benefit an individual are not tax deductible). Care should be taken to respect the pride of the family in these situations. It is difficult for all of us to be in a situation where we have to depend on others. We have often reminded individuals that by being in Sanctuary, they are engaged in hard work; both for their families but also for the movement and that work should be compensated.
Training other Congregations
Instead of only one or two congregations taking on the work of Sanctuary, it is important that other congregations also show support. Coalition congregations join together in advocacy efforts, joint sign-on letters, logistical support, vigils and cooking. Having other congregations engaged creates training opportunities for leadership from other congregations to become accustomed to the work of Sanctuary, an experience they can bring back to their congregation as they prepare themselves for a future opportunity of offering Sanctuary.
It is important that we use common messaging so that we can influence and push forward a national narrative on Sanctuary and the urgency for the Administration to stop their
Sample Press Advisory
For Immediate Release
November XX, 2016
Congregations Open Doors for Immigrants to Stop
Trump’s Deportation Plan
Through the Sanctuary Movement, faith communities launch new campaign to stop family separation and provide safe refuge in midst of promised attacks
City- The Sanctuary Movement, a network of faith communities in XXX, is holding a press conference to announce faith communities’ resistance to President-elect Donald J. Trump’s plan to deport millions of immigrants, which would separate families and devastate immigrant communities. Since the 1980’s, the Sanctuary Movement has taken up the call to welcome the stranger by providing safe haven to immigrants and refugees in need. Since 2014, 13 churches in 9 cities have provided Sanctuary to 15 individuals seeking to remain in their communities helping them win a stay of deportation with support of 400 congregations nationwide. Now the Sanctuary Movement is calling on all congregations across faiths to open their doors and provide refuge for immigrants facing detention and deportation. Congregations also welcome anyone who has been victimized by discrimination or hate crimes into these sacred safe spaces to unite the community around love, respect and dignity for all.
These faith communities are also supporting those willing to answer the call to provide sanctuary at schools, hospitals, college campuses, community centers and family homes. At this press conference, faith leaders commit to work with partner immigrants rights organizations to create sacred space of sanctuary wherever it is needed.
What: Press Conference of immigrant leaders and faith leaders committed to resisting President-elect Trump’s deportation plan.
When: Time/ Date
Who: co- sponsor list of organizations
Speakers: List of speakers
Sample Press Release
December 25th, 2015
For Immediate Release
Press Contact: xxxx
On Christmas Day Faith Leaders Offer their Churches
as Sanctuary to Those Hunted in Raids
We Open Our Doors to Today's Josephs and Mary’s Despite ICE's Plan to deport them
Sanctuary Movement leaders who have offered their congregations as spaces of refuge for immigrants facing deportation are outraged by the news that Immigration Customs and Enforcement and the Department of Homeland security plans to conduct raids targeting families who have fled violence and persecution in Central America.
Faith leaders from many traditions remind our decision makers that the story of Christmas is about a prophet and savior born in a stable and a refugee family that fled the political violence that could have killed Jesus as a baby.
In defiance of a court order to stop detaining children, the Obama administration has increased the detention of families by 173% over the last several months according to the Migration Policy Institute. And now the administration has announced it will search for and deport asylum-seeking families to the danger they are seeking to escape.
In the spirit of Christmas, faith leaders are declaring they are ready to once again open their doors to provide refuge for immigrants facing deportation and unjust targeting from ICE.
“As pastors we know that each and every family is a holy family and the individuals and families who have fled violence don’t just need our prayers, they need sanctuary,” explains Rev. Alison Harrington of Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson Arizona. “We open our doors to today's Josephs and Mary’s despite ICE’s plans to deport them.
When we heard that the Obama administration is beginning plans to round up Central American families and deport them back to the violence they have been fleeing, we couldn’t help but imagine what would it have been like if the President was pharaoh in Egypt at the time of Jesus’ birth when he and his family had to run from the death squads of Herod. What if he had ordered the deportation of the Holy Family?"
Rev. Adan Mairena of West Kensington Ministry, Philadelphia, PA added, "Our elected officials cannot say ‘God bless America’ and at the same time deport, exclude, dehumanize, and criminalize those who come seeking refuge, in this case God's children from Central America. They are those whom Jesus called ‘the least of these.’ If we continue to go down this road of moral decay the consequences will be grave.
As a Christian I stand on the side of divine law and cannot remain silent as our elected leaders give into the darkness that works to divide God's family as opposed to uniting it. I, and others like me, will continue to put our faith into action no matter what."
Rev. Chris Jimmerson from First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin where they recently offered sanctuary to Sulma Franco contributing his reflection, “‘Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.’ (Hebrews 13: 2). The Christian Bible, indeed the sacred texts of most all of the world’s religions are filled with admonitions such as this to treat strangers among us with love and hospitality. Yet, ICE continues to detain entire families, including children, who have fled persecution, trauma and threats against their very lives, re-traumatizing them and threatening to deport them to the very places where their lives will again be threatened. Our immigration courts continue to deny asylum to folks who clearly do have a well-founded fear of persecution and if returned to their country of origin could face fatal consequences.
As a Unitarian Universalist minister, I stand on the side of love, called by the world’s great faith and wisdom traditions to decry ICE’s new plans to detain and deport even more Central American families. Our faith calls upon us to do just the opposite – to offer refuge and support, compassion and hospitality to these women, men and children. This is our only morally justifiable action.”
The Story of Daniel in the Hill
Protecting One Dad from Broken Immigration System
If all the organizations involved expand our social media work, our outreach to the public is larger. When we are able to garner traditional media, we must make sure to push it out through social media.
Hash tags allow you to enter a forum of everyone else using the same hash tag; this amplifies the impact of the twitter post.
#not1more #allin4relief #allinfor11million #keepyourpromise #letrosastay #timeisnow
Tweeting @ an organization or a law maker is helpful to pressure decision makers and to invite other organizations to retweet your comment.
@GroundswellMvmt @CWS_IRP @bend_thearc
@BarackObama @WhiteHouse @DHSgov
· A church is fighting NAME's deportation by offering #Sanctuary. Add your name in solidarity LINK TO PETITION
· Tell @DHSgov & @BarackObama to #WeStandWithRosa Add your name in solidarity → LINK TO PETITION #Sanctuary #Not1More
· Churches offer #refuge for Central Americans facing U.S. deportation http://reut.rs/1m9UTgo via @Reuters #not1more
(the initial period “.” is important when is in the beginning of the tweet)
· .@UPCTempe Church Grants #Sanctuary to Immigrant Facing Deportation http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2014/09/tempe_church_grants_sanctuary_to_immigrant_facing_deportation.php #not1more
· ICYMI: On Christmas day faith leaders around the US reiterate their offer of Sanctuary to those hunted in ICE raids. http://buff.ly/1QWHu80
Sample Face Book Posts
· A church is fighting NAME's deportation by offering #Sanctuary. Add your name in solidarity
LINK TO PETITION
LINK TO PETITION
· Tell Homeland Security Chief and President to let ____ Stay!
Add your name in solidarity → LINK TO PETITION
· Churches open their doors on Christmas to #immigrants seeking refuge #not1more deportation http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/12/26/3735048/churches-open-doors-to-immigrants/