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Sanctuary is a public witness of our faith in Jesus Christ, who modeled radical and generous love for all. Throughout the scriptures, God implores God’s people to care for the immigrant and refugee in our midst. As a faith community, we pray that God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven, and our prayers spur us to action. As James 1:22 implores, let us “be doers of the word, and not merely hearers.”

What is Sanctuary

Throughout history, the people of God have provided safe space in their places of worship for those vulnerable under the laws and customs of the time. The Hebrew people had cities of refuge for persons wrongfully accused of crimes. In the years before the American Civil War, congregations provided safety for slaves fleeing the South in the Underground Railroad. In the 1980s, more than 500 U.S. congregations provided safe houses to Central Americans fleeing civil war but whom our government refused to acknowledge as refugees.

Today churches are providing sanctuary to people with final orders of deportation. Parents, workers, and community members caught in the clutches of a broken immigration system are entering houses of worship to fight their orders of deportation from a safe space. Congregations around the country are standing with families at risk of separation.

WHY do we participate in sanctuary?

Sanctuary is a public witness of our faith in Jesus Christ, who modeled radical and generous love for all. Throughout the scriptures, God implores God’s people to care for the immigrant and refugee in our midst. As a faith community, we pray that God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven, and our prayers spur us to action. As James 1:22 implores, let us “be doers of the word, and not merely hearers.”

WHERE do we provide sanctuary?

We will offer sanctuary on our First Presbyterian Church property. We believe that our physical church buildings are places of worship and gifts from God, and we joyfully use these gifts to further the work of Christ’s peace and justice.

WHO is involved in this sanctuary work?

Our First Pres community has joined together in this work. Our primary relationship will be with our guest, who will live on our church property while his/her attorney works for a stay of deportation. We will respect our guest’s leadership during his/her time in sanctuary with us. Other faith communities and neighbors are joining us in this work as well, including Congregation Mishkan Israel and the Unitarian Society of New Haven.

HOW can I get involved in the work of sanctuary?

Our most frequent need will be for church and community members to take shifts at the church manse, to ensure someone is present with our guest if U.S. Immigration Customs & Enforcement (“ICE”) arrives. We will have daytime and evening shifts every week, as well occasional overnight needs. For more information about this and other involvement opportunities, please contact sanctuary@fpcnh.org. And please consider inviting your friends and neighbors to get involved!

Sanctuary Update
13Sep 19
Friday, September 13

Will you consider joining a Salt and Light small group?  First Presbyterian Church is committed to participating in the work of anti-racism.  One way we do this is to learn more about our own racial identity and, as a predominantly white faith community, we are beginning this work by reading the book Waking Up White by Debby Irving.  This book will be used to prompt discussion about racial identity in the context of small groups. In small groups, space will be provided for deeper reflection and relationship building among our church community.  You can still sign up for a small group at https://bit.ly/2xhbuX2The last day to register will be Friday, Sept. 13.

At present, we have over 60 people signed up – and we have room for more!  For those of you who have signed up, your small group facilitators will be contacting you during the week of Sept 16.  Each group will identify the best time to meet and the location.

All are welcome and wanted to participate – young and old, new to New Haven or long-time members, white people and people of color.  Each of us bears a unique image of God and we pray God’s wisdom, mercy, and love will be made known as we listen to and learn from each other.

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