Arizona Churches Offer Sanctuary

Ministry Briefing shares a fascinating story of what is happening in Arizona:

Congregations throughout Tucson, AZ have stepped up efforts to provide sanctuary to women and children fleeing gang violence throughout Central America. this comes in opposition to federal efforts to step up deportations. One pastor asked whether someone would turn away a mother holding a small child asking for help.

Source: Christian Science Monitor

Why does this matter for church leaders?

Recognizing that many women and children face life and death situations in Central America due to gang violence, clergy in California and Arizona are choosing civil disobedience in order to protect these undocumented immigrants. This prompts churches to ask important questions:

  • When should churches choose to break the law? Some pastors have spoken up in favor of pastors breaking IRS rules in order to endorse a political candidate. Is this a situation that warrants a similar kind of defiance to the law?
  • Does your church have contact with undocumented immigrants? Some churches have started ministries that provide help with paperwork and legal representation to immigrants. Is your church in a region where this kind of advocacy and assistance could be needed?
  • Do you have a policy for helping people in need? Whether or not someone is an immigrant, every church should have clear policies and point people for situations that involve people in need of help such as food, shelter, or rent assistance. Don’t put the burden of a decision on your office staff. Give them clear guidelines they can follow so that they know exactly what to do.

How would/does YOUR church handle this situation?

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About the Author: Matt Steen

I love Jesus, Theresa (my wife), the Redskins & Capitals, and am currently living in Waco, Texas where I am studying the finer points of BBQ (while working on my MDiv and MBA at Baylor University). When not studying, I serve church leaders through MinistryBriefing.com and am the Director of Connections for Harris Creek Baptist Church's Downtown Campus.