Special Congregational Meeting: Sanctuary Church

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There is a Special Congregational Meeting on Palm Sunday, April 9 directly after worship, estimated 11:50 a.m.  There is only one agenda item for this congregational meeting, and it is to learn, discuss, and vote on a resolution declaring First Christian Church Des Moines as a Sanctuary Church, which is submitted for your consideration by more than ten members of the congregation.  



Whereas, in working to stay faithful to biblical, theological, and historical imperatives: We remember Holy Scripture is univocal in its hospitality commands toward immigrants, i.e. “The immigrant who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the immigrant as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:34), “… I was a stranger/immigrant and you welcomed me.” (Matthew 25:35), and “Let love be genuine … extend hospitality to strangers/immigrants.” (Romans 12:9,13).  We remember the Church has struggled to apply the basic tenets of love and justice to overcome temporal expressions of racism, classism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice and maltreatment, and thereby we confess the sins of inhospitality and prayerfully work to imaginatively live love and justice.

Whereas, our congregation affirms itself as a Shalom Congregation, a proclamation against all war and violence and a readied participation in efforts of reconciliation, an Open and Affirming Congregation, “welcoming all God’s children … celebrating that all people are part of God’s good creation,” and we have affirmed a congregational mission to “journey together with our foreign-born neighbors.”  And First Christian Church Des Moines was a founding partner of Central Iowa Shelter and Services, housing homeless neighbors one night a week until the community implemented a more permanent strategy.  And for over a decade we have hosted and provided free childcare for ESL/ELL students and have formed relationships with a diversity of immigrant neighbors.  Thereby, and most specifically, we have discerned to prayerfully work with our immigrant neighbors to imaginatively live love and justice.

Whereas, over decades, millions of people, desperate to escape violence and/or extreme poverty, have entered the United States of America without documentation or have overstayed temporary arrangements of legal entry, and now, these, our neighbors, are living in the shadows and are denied human rights.  We recognize the landscape of immigration enforcement and/or reform is ever changing; and yet we also recognize that many current policies regarding our immigrant neighbors are cruel, unjust, and contrary to our faith.  Bolstered by prejudiced xenophobia, and policies which separate families, deportation without due process, and sustain unprotected employment, current events have brought into the light the sins of our nation, and thereby we are called to specific acts of care and advocacy in our prayerful work to imaginatively live love and justice.

Let it be resolved, and publicly declared, our intent is to serve as a Sanctuary Church.  We will prayerfully engage in ministries providing safe and effective Sanctuary of immigrants in immediate risk of unjust deportation.  We will learn and work with community partners, including the Iowa Sanctuary Movement, to navigate the complexities of this ministry, and lay leaders and staff will keep the congregation updated to its needs, challenges, and possibilities.  Lastly, we continue to advocate for just and loving policies and legislation with local, state, and federal government, and we look forward to that day when all our immigrant neighbors will find positive legal integration in our country and our community.




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