A Sanctuary Congregation
A sanctuary congregation offers temporary shelter for an undocumented non-citizen as a last resort before deportation.
UUCS took a major step toward offering sanctuary when the congregation members approved this resolution by majority vote:
“We the members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation (of Salem) resolve to direct the board of directors to develop policies and procedures to offer sanctuary to undocumented vetted individual(s), whose only civil offence is that they are undocumented, and do so as an act of compassion, as a public witness in opposition to the U.S. government’s unjust and inhumane treatment of undocumented persons in this country and as a means to bring about just and compassionate changes in public policies in the treatment of all undocumented people within the national borders.”
Resolution as amended and approved by majority vote of the members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem at the May 21, 2017 annual meeting.
The board of directors charged the Sanctuary Team, a subcommittee of the Social Justice in Action Team, with carrying out this project. The further steps to take before offering an individual sanctuary are outlined in this document, The Sanctuary Congregation Project.
The process of how a guest would be accepted into sanctuary, and what that would mean to the congregation are addressed in this document, Sanctuary Congregation Basic Facts.
Since May of 2017, the Sanctuary Team has
- evaluated our building for safety and compliance with local regulations regarding overnight guests,
- started fundraising,
- identified some volunteers in the congregation and in the community, and,
- identified and addressed challenges of sharing our space with an individual in sanctuary while carrying out our usual activities.
The Sanctuary Team and Rev. Rick will decide when we are ready to offer sanctuary, and the UUCS congregation will be informed when this milestone is reached.
Sanctuary to Provide Temporary Shelter to Families in Emergency
Reverend Rick and our immigrant right partners (CAUSA, IMIrJ, WVRRC) met with the immigrant workers (and their families) who are employed at the Kendall Florist Nursery in Canby, Oregon.
The immigrant community and the immigrant rights organizations are concerned about increased activity by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in their area. Family members of targeted undocumented immigrant neighbors may be unable to return to their homes immediately following ICE activity and may need temporary shelter. The Sanctuary Team suggested that UUCS expand the sanctuary policy to include temporary shelter for documented immigrant neighbors who are family members of detained, undocumented immigrant people.
The Board voted unanimously that UUCS would provide temporary shelter to families in emergency. The families would be referred to UUCS by one of our sanctuary partners.
The Board appreciates the excellent work and dedication of the Sanctuary Team.