Immigrants, Refugees and Sanctuary
The Episcopal Diocese of Washington voted to become a "Sanctuary Diocese" at its 123rd Diocesan Convention, held at Washington National Cathedral on January 27, 2018. In so doing, the people of the Diocese of Washington declared that as disciples of Jesus Christ, we "take seriously the biblical mandate to 'honor the immigrant in our midst as one of our own' (Lev. 19:34), and in faithfulness to our Baptismal Covenant, [we] oppose policies that target undocumented immigrants for deportation while also placing undue restrictions on refugees seeking safe haven in the U.S."
The resolution asks congregations and institutions in the diocese "to serve as places of welcome and healing, and to provide other forms of material and pastoral support" to immigrants, including "initiatives to engage in education, organizing, advocacy, legal direct action, and other methods as deemed appropriate in each context to ensure the safety and security of all immigrants and refugees."
Download the full text and explanation of the resolution, as adopted, here.
Following the adoption of the resolution, Bishop Mariann Budde charged the diocese's Race and Social Justice Task Force to form a Sanctuary Subcommittee to begin equipping congregations, clergy, and lay leaders to engage in the work of supporting immigrants. No congregation will be equipped to help in the same way. But each congregation is called to act in ways appropriate to local contexts, capacity, and discernment.
While the Sanctuary Subcommittee proceeds with its work, the following resources are available for individuals and congregations seeking to discern ways to help sooner.
- Sanctuary DMV Toolkits and Resources
- Sanctuary DMV Congregation Network
- Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations Immigration Resources
- Bishop Budde's Statement from Sanctuary DMV's Launch Event
For more information, or to seek assistance in discerning your congregation's role, contact the Rev. Sarabeth Goodwin at firstname.lastname@example.org.