UCC churches offer sanctuary from January immigration raids

UCC churches offer sanctuary from January immigration raids

by Anthony Moujaes
United Church of Christ

United Church of Christ pastors from Arizona and California to Minnesota are encouraging others in the faith community to shield families that are at-risk for deportation. Immigration enforcement officials are preparing to round up and deport hundreds of undocumented immigrants in January, according to news reports, including many who fled Central America for the United States because of escalating violence.

The Rev. Ken Heintzelman, pastor of Shadow Rock UCC in Phoenix, and his local colleagues are still figuring out how they will respond to offer assistance if there any raids in their area. Shadow Rock already provides sanctuary to one family and has helped other immigrants avoid deportation.

Though Heintzelman said there are more questions than answers at this point, the moral statement from the faith community remains unchanged. "You cannot say, 'Love your neighbor as yourself' and turn your back on people threatened with deportation," Heintzelman said. "God brought these people to our doorsteps, and we are determined to help them."

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