By Karen Wells – CNA Media Team
Two local Protestant churches are demonstrating their support for immigrants and refugees.
Concordia’s Ainsworth United Church of Christ (AUCC) has a long history of involvement in social justice work. This includes being active in the Sanctuary Movement, a national initiative sparked by the current political climate of accelerated attempts to detain and/or deport undocumented immigrants/workers.
Pastor Lynne Smouse Lopez was at the helm of AUCC in 2007 during the north Portland Fresh Del Monte Produce packing plant immigration raids. She and her congregation took action then to assist affected immigrant families.
They are back in action for the latest affront to the security of immigrant families and their children, according to the pastor.
AUCC was the first church in Oregon to engage with the Sanctuary Movement, which counts at least 800 congregations and 18 coalitions nationally. To date, 16 congregations, in nine major cities have provided or offered sanctuary to affected immigrants and their families.
Augustana Lutheran in nearby Irvington neighborhood sponsored a February news conference about sanctuary and deportation. Fifteen local immigrant rights/advocacy groups shared stories of how the latest wave of actions by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have affected families and children.
The 100-plus community members, congregants and local media heard stories of children who are afraid to go to school for fear of returning home to an empty house if their parents are detained unexpectedly by ICE. Participants also heard that, because of the fear of ICE, many in need of food or medicine are going without.
Sanctuary Movement details
These resources can help you learn more about the Sanctuary Movement and/or step up to help:
- Ainsworth United Church of Christ, AinsworthUCC.com
- Muslim Community Center of Portland, MCCpdx.org
- Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, EMOregon.org
- Allen Temple-Christian Methodist Episcopal, AllenTemple@qwestoffice.net
- Augustana Lutheran, Augustana.org
- Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice, IMIRJ.org
- Sanctuary Movement, SanctuaryNotDeportation.org