The sanctuary movement that was part of the Seattle faith community in the 1980s is back.
Seattle area churches and allies came together Monday morning at St. Mark’s Cathedral on Capitol Hill to reaffirm their commitment to protect immigrants and refugees. It was a time for prayer, reflection and open declaration to take action. Faith communities say they want to do more than simply voice support for sanctuary cities.
Michael Ramos is executive director of the Church Council of Greater Seattle that’s leading the effort. He says unlike the 80s, when the churches were helping refugees fleeing Central America, many of the people who need help today already live here and have real fears of deportation.
“This is a new time for faith communities to step forward intentionally and consciously to say we need to exercise our mission of welcoming these people, including opening up our sacred spaces,” Ramos said.
Some churches will offer shelter to immigrants and refugees. Others will provide moral support. Ramos said there are many different ways congregations will help people who are at risk of being separated from their families.
“Their situation is changing dramatically, where they have a real fear of deportation,” Ramos said, “and we need to accompany them so they can survive and thrive just like the rest of us.”