Sanctuary Project Resolution: (Passed by Congregational Vote at Annual Meeting 20 May 2018)
Consistent with the Unitarian Universalist principles affirming the inherent worth and dignity of every person with justice, equity, and compassion in human relations, and the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; we declare ourselves as a Sanctuary Congregation in alignment with the Iowa Sanctuary Movement.
We will open our doors and our hearts to receive a guest or guests seeking Sanctuary because of their immigration status and provide hospitality during their stay with assistance from other congregations.
We will continue to advocate for fair and compassionate national immigration policies that will create long-term opportunities and welcoming communities.
Sanctuary Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What legal concerns might we encounter? Is providing Sanctuary illegal?
Because sanctuary is most commonly provided in conjunction with a public declaration of who the person in Sanctuary is, and why they are being provided sanctuary, there is not intent to conceal. No congregation has been prosecuted in the last 40 years for providing Sanctuary as long as they announce Sanctuary. The exception is if a judicial (not ICE) warrant is issued.
What is the legal risk to volunteers?
There has not been any legal risk to volunteers with a Sanctuary church, unless they are transporting. It is possible for someone in the building to be caught up in a sweep by ICE. We will detail possible risks and scenarios in the training for volunteers.
Could they take away our non-profit status?
Declaring or providing Sanctuary should not have any impact on nonprofit status.
What stops ICE from coming in and arresting someone?
Faith communities are one of the enumerated “sensitive locations” identified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as locations where immigration enforcement actions should not occur. It is important to note this is DHS policy, not law. The longstanding policy was clarified in a DHS memo in 2011. It is unknown if the DHS will change this policy in the future.
Can the president override this policy?
Yes. Although it is possible, there is a long history of recognizing the sanctity of faith communities, and in the past when this has been challenged, faith communities have joined together to demand the continued respect of this sanctity, even when the groups agreed on little else.
What if protestors target us? What is the physical risk to volunteers, congregants, and property?
This is unknown. Anytime we take a position of social justice, additional risk comes to the congregation. Risk will be mitigated through training and rapid response teams that include the entire community and by the pro-active safety measures being established by the UUCQC Board of Trustees’ Safety Project. We are contacting Permar about our flexibility with the current security system.
What is the physical risk to the guest(s)?
The act of submitting to Sanctuary involves physical, medial, emotional, and spiritual risk. Again, the exact level is unknown but will be mitigated by our safety practices. In addition, we will make living area off-limits to the public and welcome guests into our programs.
Will insurance rates change when we declare Sanctuary?
We have reviewed the policies and believe that we are covered for guests living in our facilities. We are investigating to be sure.
What is the risk to our children?
We will have a comprehensive vetting process before permanently accepting any guests entering Sanctuary. We will have guidelines in place and can deny Sanctuary at any time. Risks will be equivalent to any other individual working with children in our congregation.
What if there is a medical need or medical emergency?
If there is a medical need, we can reach out to a medical provider or community clinic to have that need addressed within the walls of the Sanctuary building. If there is a medical emergency where the Sanctuary guest’s life is in danger, then emergency treatment must be sought, unless the guest chooses to deny medical care. We have included medical issues in our draft of vetting guidelines.
How will we pay for Sanctuary?
None of the costs of Sanctuary will be taken from the operating budget of the congregation. We plan to fund Sanctuary with funds from partner organizations and congregations, crowd funding, fundraising, and/or grants for justice work.
We have funding sources arranged if and when the resolution passes, including a generous matching fund. This is before beginning any requests for funds. We have also identified several grants to apply for.
Are we going to have money set aside for legal fees?
We’re investigating covering some legal fees. We suspect we will be able to raise any needed legal funds due to the positive community and congregational support. National non-profit organizations that address this issue may also provide legal and/or financial support.
Is there a need for Sanctuary in the Quad Cities area?
We believe there is a need. The full need is unknown but growing in this unpredictable political climate. Proactive planning now places us in a position to help as soon as there is a request for Sanctuary.
What physical access will the guest(s) physically have?
They would have designated private space, plus access to bathroom, shower, kitchen, and other public areas of our building when it won’t interfere with programming. This will be part of clear guest guidelines.
Who makes decisions about Sanctuary?
There are many decisions to be made when a guest enters Sanctuary. Key decisions will be assigned to a small group of appointees. During Sanctuary, decisions will be made by both guests and volunteers.
What goods and services do we need to provide?
We are drafting a strategic plan for many aspects, including: translation, medical care, food, laundry, legal advice, pastoral care, counseling, entertainment, other shopping needs, education, childcare, socializing, transportation, and security.
How will we care for our guests?
There will be support from other congregations in order to provide successful Sanctuary. We are currently pursuing Memorandums of Understanding with these partner congregations. We will organize these efforts
Can guests leave?
Being protected by Sanctuary means guests must stay on site. Our agreement with them would include ways for either side to terminate Sanctuary. Our guidelines would include not taking risks. If at any point, guests decide they want to do something else, that decision should be honored.
Who will volunteer?
Active volunteer support within the UUCQC has been strong. Our email list is constantly growing. In addition, support is strong within the community, as mentioned above. We are using resources for developing a volunteer force. PLEASE REFERENCE THE VOLUNTEER INTAKE FORM ABOVE.
How will this affect programming?
We anticipate minimal impact. We consulted the RE Team, who identified available living space with no reduction of services. Just like any other guest, Sanctuary guests will be invited to participate in all church programming. Guests will also be invited to lead a forum to talk about their unique experience. This would enhance UUCQC programming.
Who decides which requests for Sanctuary UUCQC will accept?
There will be a small group of people appointed and trained to make decisions in line with UUCQC vetting protocol.
How do we vet them?
We are currently drafting detailed vetting guidelines. We plan to get as much information as possible from the requesting guests within the first 3 days and make a long-term decision using this information. PLEASE REFERENCE THE SANCTUARY INTAKE QUESTIONNAIRE ABOVE.
Who is going to make guest guidelines?
The Sanctuary Project will make guidelines with input from the Board, RE team, safety team, governance team, grounds team, building team, and staff.
How to identify people in need of sanctuary?
Through our initial announcement and partnerships in the local community, we expect people will reach out to us when the need arises. We will not be actively recruiting.
Will the guest in Sanctuary need to follow guidelines in order to stay in Sanctuary?
What impact will Sanctuary have on rental income stream?
Guests will not use rooms being rented. Guidelines will be established to not impact rental revenue.
How many guests would be allowed into Sanctuary? Families, individuals, or both?
We plan to accept only one person or family at a time. The size of the family would depend on the capacity of the building, the urgency of the case, and other factors.
How will we recruit volunteers? Who will lead the training of volunteers? How will UUCQC support volunteers?
Volunteer coordinator(s) will be appointed to lead efforts in recruitment, training, and support. Interest in the position(s) has already been expressed within the congregation.
Volunteers will be recruited from the congregation and larger community. Much interest has already been shown. There is no way to predict volunteer commitment until challenged. PLEASE REFERENCE THE VOLUNTEER INTAKE FORM ABOVE.
What training will be provided for volunteers?
All volunteers will receive an orientation and additional training according to their special area. Volunteers will be trained in policies to best protect themselves and guests, as needed.
Learn more about the:
Volunteer with the growing Sanctuary Coalition