The Episcopal Diocese of Washington voted to become a “Sanctuary Diocese” at its 123rd Diocesan Convention, held at Washington National Cathedral on January 27, 2018. In so doing, the people of the Diocese of Washington declared that as disciples of Jesus Christ, we “take seriously the biblical mandate to ‘honor the immigrant in our midst as one of our own’ (Lev. 19:34), and in faithfulness to our Baptismal Covenant, [we] oppose policies that target undocumented immigrants for deportation while also placing undue restrictions on refugees seeking safe haven in the U.S.”
The resolution asks congregations and institutions in the diocese “to serve as places of welcome and healing, and to provide other forms of material and pastoral support” to immigrants, including “initiatives to engage in education, organizing, advocacy, legal direct action, and other methods as deemed appropriate in each context to ensure the safety and security of all immigrants and refugees.”
Download the full text and explanation of the resolution, as adopted, here.
Following the adoption of the resolution, Bishop Mariann Budde charged the diocese’s Race and Social Justice Task Force to form a Sanctuary Subcommittee to begin equipping congregations, clergy, and lay leaders to engage in the work of supporting immigrants. No congregation will be equipped to help in the same way. But each congregation is called to act in ways appropriate to local contexts, capacity, and discernment.
While the Sanctuary Subcommittee proceeds with its work, the following resources are available for individuals and congregations seeking to discern ways to help sooner.
Immigrant Relief Fund/El Fondo de Ayuda para Inmigrantes
The Immigrant Relief Fund of the Diocese of Washington has been created to provide short-term crisis assistance to help immigrant families with the expenses of legal representation and to provide temporary emergency aid to a family who has been unexpectedly separated from a family member upon whom the family depends for financial stability. This fund is intended for members of the congregations of the Diocese of Washington. Assistance shall be limited to $2,000 per family unit.
Requests for assistance will be screened by a panel of the Canon to the Ordinary, the Latino Missioner and attorneys with a firm understanding of quickly changing immigration law.
Priority will be given to requests for legal aid where it is determined that there may be legal relief available. Family assistance due to the separation of a breadwinner shall not be dependent on a determination of a possible legal relief.
To apply, the rector or priest-in-charge of the congregation should send a letter setting out the narrative according to the above criteria. Please be sure to include the amount requested and contact information. Please email all documents or mail them to:
Episcopal Church House
If you have any questions or desire more information, please email contact Mildred Reyes, Missioner for Latino/Hispanic Ministries & Diocesan Initiatives.
To make a contribution, follow this link to the donation page.
Proceso de Solicitud
Para hacer una contribución, siga este enlace a la página de donaciones.