Standing with Targeted Immigrants

Plymouth Congregational Church United Church of Christ of Syracuse reaffirmed our commitment as a sanctuary congregation with a vote last June to sign the national New Sanctuary Movement covenant. In doing so, we took a public, moral stand for immigrant rights and committed ourselves to work to protect immigrants against hate, workplace discrimination and unjust deportation; and reveal through education and advocacy the actual suffering of immigrant workers and their families.  Plymouth Church was joined by the social justice office of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse in signing this covenant at an interfaith worship service in September 2008. We join at least 35 networks in over 10 states across the country that have made similar commitments.

“The new sanctuary covenant has given us a deeper connection to faithfully living out a response to all the Biblical stories of sojourn, flight, and vulnerability and given us a way to form inspiring relationships with the courageous people in our region who are so key to food production and basic services in our economy,” says Michael Hungerford, a member of Plymouth’s immigration prayer and study group.

This covenant combines a faith response to the call for radical hospitality with the beliefs that immigrant families, especially those with US born children, have the right to remain together, and that the sacred ground of houses of worship shall not be violated by secular authorities. 

Though the congregation has not entered into a formal partnership with a particular immigrant family, this commitment continues to animate various activities including praying regularly in worship for local families; directly supporting  families with clothing, food, housing, banking and spiritual care;  letter writing in support of those going before immigration court; hosting various films on immigration; hosting and participating in various actions of the CNY Detention Taskforce; and convening a coalition of various faith communities to raise awareness about those suffering from current immigration policy. 

The congregation continues its discussion about the prospect of physically hosting a family in our building in an emergency situation.   In seeking to influence the current policy debate, the congregation will act in coalition with other local organizations in the months ahead to call on the new President and new Congress to end the raids and deportations and create humane immigration reform. To learn more, contact Plymouth Church at 474-4836.

–Craig Schaub
Pastor, Plymouth Congregational Church