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, 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.
EDOW REFUGEE RESPONSE TEAM
Mission: The EDOW Refugee Response Team empowers and supports diocesan parishes in their efforts to welcome and assist refugees by partnering with the diocesan deacons and other established networks; helping to connect the resources of our parishes to the needs of organizations aiding and settling refugees; and supporting parishes who are new to this work.
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We are also assembling and will regularly share other valuable resources providing information congregations and individuals will find useful to get involved in this work, from many excellent groups supporting refugee resettlement. We offer just a few below. If you want to stay up to date on information and action opportunities regarding refugee ministry, please sign up and join the EDOW Refugee Ministry Listserv.
- Afghan Refugee Mentor Resource Guide for Sponsoring and Assisting Refugee Resettlement
- US Citizenship and Immigration Service Guidance on Parolees into the United States
- Practices to Strengthen Relations with Refugees and Muslims
- Join the Episcopal Public Policy Network to advocate directly to your elected officials about protecting and supporting refugees.
We welcome ideas, volunteers, connections, and resources from all of you, as well, as the team continues its work. Please contact Nancy Stockbridge, interim chair, with your input or questions.
EDOW has partnered with the Sanctuary Ministry of the Washington National Cathedral to equip congregations, clergy, and lay leaders to engage in the work of supporting immigrants. While no congregation is equipped to help in the same way, each is called to act in ways appropriate to local contexts, capacity, and discernment.
We’ve collected the following resources for individuals and congregations seeking to discern ways to help.
Immigrant Relief Fund
The Immigrant Relief Fund of the Diocese of Washington provides 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. Learn More
For more information, or to seek assistance in discerning your congregation’s role, contact Hazel Monae, Missioner for Equity and Justice.