For the past year and a half, representatives of Brown Memorial’s Hispanic Ministries Committee have been participating in the Sanctuary Coalition of Central Maryland to discern the need to establish a sanctuary movement in the Central Maryland area. The coalition is comprised of pastors and lay leaders from churches across the Central Maryland region.
This past spring, the Session at Brown Memorial approved a sanctuary statement developed in the Coalition meetings. We have provided a few opportunities to discuss this statement at Brown through the Adult Forum, Ignite presentations and discussions over lunch after church.
In approving this pledge and becoming a sanctuary church, the Session recognizes that Brown Memorial may not have adequate facilities to provide shelter to an immigrant family under a deportation order. Session is open to this possibility, however, and would expect to consult with the congregation prior to making such a decision.
We are called upon by our Lord to minister to “the stranger” among us. In answering that call, the Hispanic Ministries Committee is grateful for the courageous leadership of Session in setting a course to welcome all refugees and immigrants in our midst.
Highlights of the “Sanctuary Tenets” developed by the Sanctuary Coalition of Central Maryland in March 2017 are as follows:
As people of faith and people of conscience, we pledge to resist the 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.
The Sanctuary Coalition of Central Maryland recognizes the urgent need to take action to voice our support of asylees, refugees, and immigrants of all faiths whether documented or not.
- We envision the need and pledge to stand in solidarity with all those who are facing persecution based upon immigration status, faith, race, gender, or sexual identity.
- We envision the need to stand in solidarity with one another as providers of spiritual guidance and pastoral care to marginalized members of our communities.
- We envision the need to support organizers in the Baltimore area as they build relationships, take action, and call upon the city, state, and country to support the human rights of undocumented immigrants and seek a pathway to citizenship for them.
- We envision the need to raise our voices to political power, to take a stand to protect the human rights of all, particularly those fleeing persecution, violence, and ecological disasters around the globe.
The Sanctuary Coalition of Central Maryland supports the concept of Sanctuary by promoting safety and refuge for those seeking safe and productive lives in the U.S. The Coalition proposes to support Sanctuary in the following ways:
- Prayerful support of Sanctuary congregations.
- Material support (including but not limited to food, meals, transportation and financial support) of those congregations offering Sanctuary to undocumented immigrants.
- Phone banking gatherings to raise awareness of the Sanctuary movement, gather support of the movement, and seek material support for Sanctuary congregations.
- Advocacy initiatives to call upon Congress to submit legis- TIDINGS / page 13 lation to support amnesty and immigration reform that will provide a pathway to legal status for the undocumented.
- Pastors and congregations will seek ways to expand the Sanctuary Coalition to be a robust group providing support and standing in solidarity with the national Sanctuary movement.
- In the event a civil resistance opportunity is presented, the coalition will explore the action and call upon those who might be willing to participate. Membership in the Sanctuary Coalition will not include an expectation of participation in nonviolent civil resistance but will support those who choose to disobey civil law.
- As a routine, participants in the Sanctuary Coalition will be encouraged to support the movement with electronic media posts, flyers, and banners supporting the human rights of immigrants and those living in Sanctuary situations.
- The coalition will seek ways to contact, recruit, and publicize reduced cost/pro bono legal services for immigrants.