An Easter People: thoughts on Sanctuary
Deacon Nancy Key
(Published in the Friday Reflection)
As we rejoice in the Risen Christ in this season of Easter we are reminded of our obligation to carry the light of Christ into the world through stewardship of our all of God’s people. Our creed affirms our belief that all are created by God, and through our baptismal covenant we promise to serve Christ, respecting the dignity of every human being and striving for justice for all. We do this by standing in solidarity with the vulnerable and excluded in our society. And in this season, when undocumented immigrants live in fear of deportation, stewardship of God’s people invites our discernment of how we are called to respond to their needs.
Since ancient times, Christians and others have provided hospitality to strangers. Sanctuary, in various times of our history known as “Underground Railroads,” occurred during and after the Civil War for those fleeing racial injustice, and in World War II to Jewish people fleeing Hitler. In the 1980’s, refugees from the civil wars in Central America began fleeing to the United States; when the U.S. government did not recognize these as refugees, the “Sanctuary Movement” was born. More recently, action and discernment is taking place throughout the Episcopal Church. Note that the term “Sanctuary” is intended to include all forms of hospitality, and does not specifically mean physical sanctuary.
Faith communities throughout the United States are discerning how to respond. This column will become a regular Friday Reflection feature intended to provide information about Sanctuary, and ultimately create space for discussion. The links included here provide two resources from The Episcopal Church and a link to “Sacred Resistance” of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.
As we in the Diocese of San Joaquin ponder and pray about who and how we are called to be in responding to the plight of those immigrants and refugees facing deportation, below is a list of possible ways we can respond with hospitality. The provision of physical sanctuary is not included on this list because this runs afoul of the federal law against “harboring.” However, this topic is also being discussed and debated among the chancellors of The Episcopal Church. In the weeks and months ahead, I will be providing resources for each of the opportunities on this list, and will be inviting you to share your resources and reflections.
Faith Community Options for Engaging in Sanctuary:
Living our Baptismal Promises