Wednesday, July 13, 2016

IN BERKELEY: Declaring Sanctuary, Changing Hearts and Minds

We are a Lutheran congregation declaring our commitment to help people facing deportation to dangerous situations . . . so of course we gathered around the waters of promise . . . .

Supporters from over a dozen area congregations and organizations gathered
around Pastor Jeff Johnson of University Lutheran Chapel in Berkeley
poured the waters of promise as part of the ceremony in which ULC declared
Sanctuary for undocumented persons facing deportation.

Today, University Lutheran Chapel in Berkeley stood shoulder to shoulder with these congregations and organizations to declare Sanctuary for undocumented persons facing deportation:

Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity / East Bay Interfaith Immigration Coalition (EBIIC)
Dominican Sisters of San Rafael and Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose
Kehilla Community Synagogue
Hope Lutheran Church of El Sobrante
All Soul’s Episcopal Church
Newman Holy Spirit Catholic Church Non-Violent Peacemakers Group
Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy
Lake Merritt United Methodist Church
Pittsburgh-Antioch Community Church
Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County
Episcopal Diocese of California
Oakland Catholic Worker
Primera Iglesia Presbiteriana Hispana

Over the last two years, the Sanctuary Movement has had 16 Sanctuary cases, winning relief from deportation for 13 people in 9 cities throughout the country, building a growing network of over 350 congregations in 30 states.

The focus of the day was the danger many people face if they are forced to return to the places they came from. We heard testimony from and about immigrants from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala giving specific examples of the threats to their lives that caused them to come here.

At today's event, the emphasis was on faith, conscience, and humanity: we are committed to helping these people simply because they need it. I couldn't help remembering that there is also another reason to help: US complicity in creating the violence in chaos in so many parts of Latin America. (See links to related posts below)

Two weeks ago the City of Berkeley affirmed its support of Sanctuary for undocumented persons facing deportation. Berkeley city councilman Kriss Worthington spoke at today's event and told those present that the movement is not just providing assistance to specific individuals, but also educating people everywhere about the need for Sanctuary, and changing hearts and minds.

More information on Sanctuary at University Lutheran Chapel in Berkeley for undocumented persons facing deportation is at

Related posts

It will take me multiple posts to spell out everything that I feel needs to be said about the Ayotzinapa 43.  People in the US need to work to change their own attitude about Mexico, and about the culpability or all of us here in the US in the wrongs that are being done down there. The Ayotzinapa 43 were persecuted for saying "the future can be different." It's time for us to take up their cry.

(See Ayotzinapa43: US People Need an Attitude Adjustment )

I dedicated Indigenous Peoples Day 2015 to making some progress towards writing about the perspective of indigenous peoples in the Americas.

How do you observe Indigenous Peoples Day?

(See Reflections on Indigenous Peoples Day 2015)

Perhaps, like me, you will read a sentence like, "In 2001, many people came to her neighbourhood looking for a new home, fleeing from the Naya River where the paramilitaries had massacred and displaced the Afro-Colombian communities," and wonder what it refers to.

(See COLOMBIA: Where did the violence come from?)

The second half of the 20th century saw massive human rights violations in countries throughout Central America and South America, committed principally by governments and government-sanctioned paramilitaries. The United States government encouraged and enabled this through arms shipments, training, and other forms of support.

(See How Is the US Implicated in Argentina's "Years of Lead"?)