Via First Congregational Phoenix - Opens Doors for Sanctuary

Thursday January 26, 2017

Contact:  Pastor James Pennington (608) 628-5040


First Congregational United Church of Christ Opens Doors for Sanctuary,

Urges Churches to Join

Phoenix, AZ – On January 25th, 2017, President Trump issued two Executive Orders related to immigration.  As part of the orders, all jurisdictions that attempt to ensure family unity within immigrant communities now risk losing federal funds.  In response, First Congregational United Church of Christ (FCUCC) makes a public declaration of sanctuary to all families facing separation because of deportation.  “In times of crises people of faith have to return to ancient traditions.  Refugees in the Roman Empire found sanctuary in Christian churches.  Slaves in pre-civil war United States found sanctuary in the Underground Railroad and congregations across the country.  Political refugees from the civil wars in Central America found sanctuary in over 500 churches in the United States when our federal government failed to offer asylum or refuge under existing laws.   First Church joins the many congregations already offering sanctuary today in the face of one of the most urgent and large scale humanitarian crisis in the United States,” says FCUCC Pastor James Pennington. 

            The executive orders issued cover more than sanctuary cities.  “President Trump is moving forward full speed ahead with the promises he made during his campaign.  His executive orders are only the start towards what will become a massive detention and deportation machine targeting vulnerable populations,” states Laura Ilardo, a member of FCUCC’s Immigration Task Force.  “People of faith have to be careful of the rhetoric that will be used by President Trump in support of massive deportations.  The administration will state that the focus will be on criminal immigrants; however, this country has spent over a decade criminalizing individuals for violations related only to their immigration status.  We are not talking about criminal murderers, we are talking about families that can’t get a driver’s license so they are pulled over and charged for failure to provide identification,” states attorney Daniel A. Rodriguez, who will be providing First Church with legal assistance in the implementation of sanctuary.

            “When a broken congress failed to pass immigration reform, when our President focuses on targeting families instead of fixing a broken immigration system, our faith cannot break.  Our faith must be strong.  Our faith must act.  Sanctuary is a reminder that there is a bigger law we live by” states Brendan Mahoney.

Who: First Congregational United Church of Christ

What: Vigil to Launch Sanctuary for Immigrant Families

Where/When: FCUCC 1407 N 2nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85004 January 26th at 5:30pm

Visuals:  Candle Vigil, faith leaders, and immigrant families will launch campaign.