This is what I wrote a few days ago: I called it taking a risk. I said, I am ready…more than ready…to become one of the people at my Unitarian Church enthusiastically supporting a move to become the first sanctuary church in Fort Collins. The congregation will vote on whether or not to take this step—to make this commitment to providing a safe environment for a woman facing deportation in less than three weeks.
If the congregation gives their go-ahead—which requires approval by 75 percent of a quorum, a woman from a town more than an hour away will move into the church and live there until her fate is decided by the court.
There’s way more than what meets the eye in undertaking this effort. The church will need to get additional insurance, convert a storage space into a bedroom, make sure there is someone at the church with her at all times and make sure she is well-fed and her needs are attended to.
It takes a crew of volunteers and a reasonably long-term commitment to make all this work. There are questions about risk to the church, its ministers and the rest of the staff and to church members.
I was surprised to learn that the church is committed to being open and very public about what they are doing. They want the woman’s name and story told. They will not be concealing her, rather they will be providing her with a safe place to shelter until her fate is decided by the court.
Should an ICE officer come to the church with a warrant, we will ask them to wait while a lawyer determines the legality of the warrant. If it is legal, the person taking sanctuary will have to leave.
I find myself so enraged by the current atmosphere in this country in regard to immigration that I am anxious to do my small part to resist what is happening.
The goal of the church is to keep families together. This woman has the support of her family. Her older children apparently have jobs and are keeping the family afloat. More details about her story will no doubt emerge if she comes to stay.
In the end, no one knows for certain what the future will bring. Nevertheless, there are many church members willing and able to say “yes” to this commitment physically, financially, and emotionally, just because if feels like the right thing to do.
PS- On Sunday, August 27 the church voted by 92% to become a sanctuary church.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE