By Patricia Geenen, Immigration Issues Action Group
By sharing knowledge and experiences at Sanctuary Sunday gatherings (the second Sunday of each month) and through ongoing research with relevant experts and stakeholders, the Sanctuary Discernment Team continues to gather and disseminate information about the risks and rewards of declaring solidarity with immigrants and refugees in the Milwaukee community.
In the July Chanticleer, we summarized the discernment process Cross Lutheran Church followed in becoming a sanctuary congregation in the 1980’s, as recalled by the Rev. Joseph Ellwanger. During our interview and in Chapter 10 of his book, Strength for the Struggle, Ellwanger recounted the following rewards of their sanctuary experience:
- Profound relationships with others in the sanctuary movement.
- Incorporation into the church’s liturgies commemoration of events and prayers for those martyred by U.S. support of oppressive regimes in Latin America.
- New partnerships with churches in Central America and solidarity for justice.
- A partnership between the ELCA of Southeastern Wisconsin and the Lutheran Church of El Salvador, yielding more than 12 congregational partnerships.
- Participation by members of Cross in national efforts to close the School of the Americas.
- Continuing collaboration with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services.
Please check the announcements and the Chanticleer for Sanctuary Sunday invitations and reports, as we continue gathering information to understand the moral, legal, economic, physical and personal dimensions of becoming a sanctuary congregation.
Also, please plan to attend one of a series of Cottage Meetings to be held from mid-October to mid-November to gather feedback from members of the congregation. In early September find a list of the Cottage Meeting schedule and locations in First Church publications, bulletin boards, and website.
Your involvement is vital to the discernment process!