What is Sanctuary?
Sanctuary has been part of many cultures since ancient times. Many Christian churches, going back centuries, have had prominent red doors, which traditionally indicated a place of sanctuary, refuge, and safety. In the United States, there was a strong Sanctuary movement in the 1980’s supported by over 400 churches. Currently, there are over 1,200 Sanctuary congregations, and over 50 people in sanctuary.
Why is All Saints Episcopal Church becoming a sanctuary parish?
All Saints Episcopal Church (ASEC) has decided to become a sanctuary parish because recently there has been a growing need to help undocumented people who are facing deportation, and who fear for their safety and well-being. Both Jewish and Christian traditions believe that all humans are made in the image of God, and we are called to care for the poor, the oppressed, and the stranger in our land. Jesus taught that in showing compassion and welcoming the stranger, the homeless, and those in need, we are caring for Christ. This past year, The Episcopal Church, USA declared itself to be a Sanctuary Church, the Diocese of Utah has become a Sanctuary Diocese, and All Saints has become a Sanctuary Parish.
Who chooses the persons who will live at All Saints?
SLC Sanctuary Network works closely individuals, attorneys, and other agencies to determine who would be a good candidate for sanctuary. They carefully screen potential candidates, and will also bring All Saints into the conversation to make sure it is a good fit for us.
What criteria are used to determine who is eligible?
Typically, a person or family will enter sanctuary because they are facing deportation, and they are seeking more time for their case to be decided by the US immigration system.
Will persons who have committed crimes in the U.S. such as burglary, etc. be allowed to enter sanctuary at ASEC?
No. The person or persons will be carefully screened, including criminal history.
When a person or persons come(s) to live at ASEC, will ASEC be hiding them?
No. When and if the time comes for a person or family to move into the parish for sanctuary, then ASEC and the Salt Lake City Sanctuary Network will immediately and publically report to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other related agencies that the persons are in sanctuary at ASEC. This is not harboring or hiding a person, but publically offering sanctuary to those in need.
Will ICE come into the church and arrest people in sanctuary?
ICE has a publicly stated policy that they will not arrest undocumented persons who are within “sensitive areas” specifically listed as schools, hospitals, or places of worship.
How long will someone be living at All Saints Church under this program?
Every case is unique. Typically persons in sanctuary are appealing a court order to be deported. It can be a matter of weeks or months, depending on their particular circumstances, and the outcome of their case.
What about Sunday School, Centering Prayer, and other activities in the building?
Parish life will go on as it currently does, with all the worship, education, and other activities that are part of the All Saints community.
Will my All Saints pledge money be used to support our Sanctuary program?
No. There will be a separate, dedicated line item to receive and disburse funds related to sanctuary expenses. As with many other sanctuary congregations, financial and volunteer support will come from those who choose to help with this ministry; this will come from parishioners and people in the wider community who contribute in a variety of ways: volunteering, purchasing food and other items for the family, giving money, etc.
How can I help, and how do I volunteer?
To sign up for volunteering, please go onto the Salt Lake City Sanctuary Network website www.slcsanctuary.org/volunteer and fill out your information. For “Affiliated Organizations,” hit the ‘add+’ button and indicate All Saints Episcopal Church. In the "Notes" section, please write 'All Saints Volunteer'. That way, we know you prefer to volunteer at All Saints when the time comes. On the website, you will also find more information about requirements for volunteering. There will be more opportunities to help as the need arises.