In light of increasing deportations and recent executive orders, local interfaith organizers sought in winter 2016-2017 to secure commitments from area churches to begin setting up sanctuary networks. An overwhelming majority of our members expressed enthusiastic support for providing sanctuary in our January straw poll.
On March 12, 2017, members of Theodore Parker Church present at a formal meeting voted unanimously to sign on as a Level 2 sanctuary church in a local, interfaith sanctuary network.
The network includes a Level 1 (host) church and at least four Level 2 (supporting) churches. Level 1 sanctuary churches commit to actually housing individuals/families in their churches. Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain is the Level 1 church for our network. The basic work of Level 2 churches is to team up with other congregations to provide support for individuals in sanctuary with food, transportation, emotional and language support, or a database of resources.
In voting to join the sanctuary movement, we are fully aware that providing sanctuary is a public act of civil disobedience with the express purpose of reaching out to the public to change the narrative on immigration.
Read this article about local sanctuary churches in the West Roxbury Transcript online and print editions, May 18, 2017.