Expanding Sanctuary

A crowd protests unfair detention center practices, with a news camera and police car nearby.

As people of conscience, we declare our commitment to translate our values into action as we stand on the side of love with the most vulnerable among us. Find how you can act in solidarity by promoting sanctuary, safe spaces for people under threat.

Ways to Expand Sanctuary

Safe spaces for those under threat

So many communities across the United States are under threat today: undocumented immigrants, LGBTQ people, activists, people of color, differently-abled folks, and more. Reactionary political agendas are targeting these communities through funding cuts, restrictive laws, and unequal policing and criminal enforcement. We are called to do what we can to aid and ally with people whose dignity and humanity is under grave threat.

Many congregations and religious communities have offered their physical space as "sanctuary" to people at risk of immediate deportation. However, the need for safety goes beyond deportation, beyond citizenship status, and beyond a congregation's four walls. It is needed on the streets and in neighborhoods, in schools, campuses, city halls and state houses. Today, Unitarian Universalists and other people of faith and conscience are expanding what it means to offer "sanctuary" to include not only physical sanctuary, but also sanctuary policies, sanctuary campuses, and sanctuary community support networks.

Sanctuary's long and faithful tradition

Sanctuary is a measure of our capacity for love. And just as love knows no borders, our dedication to justice reaches across boundaries and walls. Sanctuary is love's response to the criminalization of black, brown, queer and marginalized people in America. We define sanctuary in the broadest sense, beginning with our congregations as safe places for reflection and healing, welcoming to those who seek spiritual community. Our sense of sanctuary expands to embrace those who are the most vulnerable in our neighborhoods. It is about offering what we have -- a space, a voice, a community -- without hesitation.

Learn More

The Call to Sanctuary

How to create safety in your community locally, legally, at school and at church, from Brave New Films.

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"From the underground railroad to this very day, we have welcomed the stranger, sheltered the refugee, offered safe home, resisted racism, fear and exclusion... We will open our hearts, we will open our doors, to those who face the threat of deportation. All are welcome, period.” - Rev. Victoria Safford, White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church in Mahtomedi, MN

Faithful Discernment: Is Your Congregation Called to Offer Sanctuary?

Wondering what your options might be for effective congregational action in this heightened time of hostility and violence and possible deportations? Learn what it means to become a Sanctuary congregation and what factors to consider in assessing whether your congregation is able to answer this call to solidarity.