On January 10, the Session, upon the recommendation of the Church’s recently formed “Sanctuary Taskforce” agreed to join hundreds of other churches, many of them Presbyterian, in signing the following pledge:
As people of faith and people of conscience, we pledge to resist the newly elected administration’s policy proposals to target and deport millions of undocumented immigrants and discriminate against marginalized communities. We will open up our congregations and communities as sanctuary spaces for those targeted by hate, and work alongside our friends, families, and neighbors to ensure the dignity and human rights of all people.
This pledge affirms NYAPC’s place as a part of the larger “Sanctuary” movement, which the task force believes is consistent with the church’s mission to be an inclusive, justice-seeking presence in Washington, DC and the world. However, the signing of the pledge does not commit the church to physically housing individuals or families. The Taskforce recommended deferring any decision on a public grant of sanctuary to a particular individual/family until such an individual/family has been identified.
The Session also charged the Sanctuary Taskforce with developing and implementing specific steps through which NYAPC can fulfill its pledge to be a “Sanctuary congregation.” Initial ideas from the Taskforce include:
-Scheduling and publicizing an “immigration services day” on a weekend at the church to connect families in need to legal, social work, and other relevant service providers
-Identifying individual members interested in “Sanctuary”-related mission work, which could include individual volunteer work (e.g., pro bono legal, social work, or other services) or participation in larger “Sanctuary” efforts/activism led by the PC(USA) Office of Public Witness, Washington Interfaith Network, or other organizations
-Informing immigration service providers of the church’s willingness to consider providing “sanctuary” to an individual or family, and developing a recommendation for way(s) in which the church might do so (e.g., physically housing a family vs. providing a family with resources or identifying external housing).
To learn more about the Sanctuary Movement and how you can help to support the efforts of the Sanctuary Taskforce, stop by our table at the Mission Fair on Sunday or email firstname.lastname@example.org
(Ruling Elder on Session)