LSC Takes Stand Against Unjust Immigration Policy
The Lake Street Church congregation has voted unanimously to declare itself a Sanctuary Church, joining a national movement to improve U.S. immigration policy.
A congregational meeting on Sunday, Aug. 24, unanimously approved this motion, which was introduced after six months of deliberation:
In solidarity with the thousands of human beings whose lives are at present being ripped apart by inhumane immigration policies, we the Lake Street Church of Evanston declare ourselves a Sanctuary Church.
So what is a Sanctuary Church? It means Lake Street Church is resolved to offer hospitality to a specific person (or family) from any country, who is in danger of being deported and thus being separated from their families.
In the future, as an individual with deportation orders is identified — someone who has worked in this country for many years and who represents the stories of many others — the Lake Street Church Sanctuary Advisory Council may choose to extend a Public Declaration of Sanctuary. That means the church will offer shelter to the individual for a few days or weeks while the deportation case is heard.
Joining the movement for immigration reform will help shine a bright light on the failure of current immigration policy — an unjust and inhumane system of deportation — as well as unlawful practices by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It also will help put pressure on legislators to reform the system.
In coming to America, immigrants seek a better life. However, under current U.S. immigration policy, their everyday lives — making a living, paying taxes, supporting their families — are being criminalized as they are torn from their loved ones by an accelerated deportation system. By calling for reform of that system, we join the New Sanctuary Movement, an alliance of organizations and faith-based communities across the country, including the Chicago Religious Leadership Network, Wellington Avenue Church, University Church, and Interfaith Worker Justice.
The declaration passed unanimously on Aug. 24 fits well with Lake Street Church’s Covenant, which calls the congregation to be “rooted in the Christian tradition and the living practice of Jesus to welcome the excluded and care for the vulnerable.” It also reflects our belief that being a spiritual community means that we walk with our spiritual forbearers, like Thich Nhat Hanh, Rigoberta Menchú, Mahatma Gandhi, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Members of the Sanctuary Advisory Council will soon plan an initial meeting for members of the congregation interested in getting more involved with this issue and helping to prepare Sanctuary space. For more information, please Send Us a Message.