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Resolution invites UCC churches to be welcoming

Briana Brannon of the Justice and Witness Ministries Committee presented the resolution calling the PNC to become immigrant and refugee welcoming as a conference and as congregations.

Briana Brannon introduces resolution at Annual Meeting.

The Annual Meeting delegates adopted the resolution.

“Fear for refugees and immigrants is palpable,” Briana said.  “Migrants and immigrants are not statistics. They are people with identities, stories and dignities.”

The resolution is based on the belief that every immigrant and refugee has inherent dignity and human rights, and that they should be able to live in safety, without fear and with access to basic necessities and opportunities.

She encourages people to share in ministries of presence, become friends, create hospitality and engage in the spiritual practice of welcoming people to “counter the narrative” against hate and fear.

The resolution calls for “offering a counter-narrative of humble hospitality, radical inclusivity and courageous resistance as a direct response to unjust and dehumanizing immigration policies, practices and rhetoric.”

With executive orders increasing deportations and stirring fear, the resolution also calls the PNC and congregations to provide funding to offer immigrant-led preparedness workshops to help immigrants know their rights, and to support families affected by raids, detention and deportation.

It also calls PNC members to educate themselves, to discern opportunities for advocacy and direct services, to build cross-cultural friendships, to organize response teams, to offer sanctuary, to join in vigils, rallies and marches.

The JWM committee will offer educational resources, such as the UCC’s, “Becoming an Immigrant Welcoming Congregation: The Journey Is Made by Walking,” and the Church Council of Greater Seattle’s “Upholding Sanctuary in the Faith Community.”

Briana said the resolution is about challenging PNC members to consider how they will make it a living document.

Paul Ashby tells of being a sanctuary church.

Paul Ashby of the JWM Committee and pastor at Richmond Beach UCC in Shoreline said that his church voted in January to be a sanctuary congregation and is working out details of what that means.

“We have a message on our church sigh that says, ‘No matter where you were born, you are welcome here.’  We are seeking how to live our commitment to be compassionate and courageous,” he said.

The church is asking what it means to care about those who pick Washington apples, do roofing, harvest vegetables, work in meat packing and are targeted by immigration agents.

Paul said they also question a national budget spending to build a wall.

“We need to use the walls of our church to do more than hang up banners or pictures of a blond Jesus,” he said.  “We need to use our walls to practice justice, to practice sanctuary more than one day a week.  We need to use walls to challenge injustices in these times.  To be a sanctuary means to be a refuge for the poor, who are immigrants and neighbors.”

Briana invited churches and the conference to consider joining community networks to go onto the streets to pray and protest, saying: “We are stronger if we use community networks.”

For information, call 719-235-8072 or email


Pacific Northwest Conference UCC News © Summer 2017


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