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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
25Jan 19

The Sanctuary team continues to seek ways in which we can best support our undocumented neighbors. We
remain in weekly contact with our friends at ULA (Unidad Latina en Acción), Shoreline indivisible and others
looking for opportunities to help. While we currently are not hosting anyone, we are actively supporting Nelson
Pinos, who has now spent a full year in sanctuary at the First and Summerfield Church. Being in sanctuary has
been increasingly more difficult for Nelson and his family and they need our support. There will be opportunities
for us to show our support for him in the near future. Please consider committing some of your time to help
Nelson.

The Sanctuary Team is also preparing to work more closely with our partner Sanctuary houses of worship through
the organization New Sanctuary CT. We hope to strengthen the efforts of this organization to provide more
coordinated actions on behalf of our undocumented neighbors. Stay tuned to see how you can get involved or ask
Tim McConnell (timothymcconnell@sbcglobal.net) about ways in which you might help.

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