Upcoming Programs

Crisis Among Immigrants: Faith Community Sanctuary Protection for Them

Needham Lyceum
Sunday, April 23, 2017
9:15am in the Parlor
Christine Dudley-Marling, Vito Lamura, and Judy Curcio

Just imagine children in a family at home with their parents in what has been a loving, secure place to grow up. Their immigrant parents are undocumented but the children are citizens born in this country. Without notice both parents are “detained,” in effect arrested and taken off to jail by federal ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officers. The panic and trauma of that horrifying event would damage their lives forever. This scene will happen more and more frequently as parents are undocumented and “targeted” by ICE.

A crisis is building as millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. face fear that their families will be torn apart in a scene like this one. Many such immigrants have lived in this country for years and are upstanding members of their communities. Others have fled their countries of origin more recently as violence in their home areas has threatened their lives. Their fears have increased dramatically through recent months as the administration in Washington is on a path to detain, incarcerate and deport more than six million undocumented people.

Given all this, faith communities are being challenged to provide a place of safety, or “sanctuary,” in their houses of worship, which until this point, at least, federal authorities have chosen not to enter. Some faith communities are able to offer physical sanctuary, an apartment of sorts within their buildings. Others are choosing to be “Sanctuary Supporting Congregations,” which First Parish Needham is considering at this time. By becoming one of those faith communities we would be committed to supporting a church or synagogue that is providing physical sanctuary to an undocumented individual or family.

One such church that has voted to offer physical sanctuary to an undocumented individual or family is our sister Bedford UU church, which made that decision just weeks ago. This coming Sunday, April 23rd, three members of that congregation will tell us about their decision process and what becoming a sanctuary church means to them. Two of them, Christine Dudley-Marling and Vito Lamura are co-chairs of the Bedford church’s Sanctuary Committee. The third, Judy Curcio, is a member of the committee. They are excited to have this opportunity to share their experience and to encourage us in our path to become a Sanctuary Supporting Congregation. All are invited to come, meet and share their enthusiasm.