AMMPARO and our welcome to refugees

Did you know about our Sanctuary Declaration?

Find it on the wall in the library: “In declaring ourselves a sanctuary church FLC pledges itself to be a sanctuary, a safe haven, for any persons who are victims of oppression, displacement, injustice.  This pledge grows out of our commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the good news to all people and to the biblical mandate to minister especially to the widows, orphans and the strangers in our land … as part of our commitment … we pledge that we will continue and deepen our involvement with refugee ministry through organizations such as South Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Lutheran Social Services, and LIRS … we pledge that, as a congregation, through study, prayer, action and advocacy, we will especially lift up issues involving oppression and injustice, and will be open and available to victims of oppression and injustice, including, but not limited to, racial, ethnic and religious discrimination, sexual abuse and child abuse.”

A little history: following WWII, as a congregation we welcomed numerous displaced persons (38 members) from Eastern Europe, taking on responsibility for their housing and employment (see newspaper article on this page).  Later on, FLC helped to support Vietnamese, Chilean, and Central American refugees.

One new opportunity: Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities (elca.org/ammparo) is about helping people who are fleeing the violence and poverty in El Salvador, Central America and Mexico.  One effort is to have volunteers show up in court to act as a companion and advocate for unaccompanied minor refugees, another is to have congregations welcome refugee families.  In December of 2016 we began to form a welcome committee, with Maria Cortez as Spanish language contact person.  As a Welcoming Congregation, we simply agree to welcome any interested Salvadoran immigrants into the ministry life of this congregation (worship, bible study, etc…), and to help connected with other resources available in our area.

What’s next?  What would it mean to provide sanctuary in present circumstances?  How are we being called to extend God’s welcome?  The journey continues …

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