On October 29, 2017, UUCB voted to become a Sanctuary Host Congregation for immigrants facing deportation, in partnership with the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition.
What Is a Sanctuary Congregation?
A Sanctuary Congregation provides safe space to those who are victims of unjust laws. It helps families from being separated by deportation and it offers a platform for the immigrant community and their allies to make a public declaration about how U.S. immigration policies must change.
As a religious institution, we are offering Sanctuary as a religious practice done within the confines of Federal “Sensitive Locations” Policy. It is a key part of our religious exercise. When it is offered, there is no intent to hide a person’s whereabouts from federal authorities or to transport the person. We are open and honest with the authorities regarding our activities, intentions and the fact that we feel we are performing our religious duty. For these reasons, it is a legal act that offers courageous love to a vulnerable population in our country. Providing Sanctuary to undocumented immigrants is one way we live our faith. For us, it is a religious practice.
UUCB’s Sanctuary Status
Since 2010, UUCB has used a faith-based model of action and reflection to address immigration issues in the Boulder area and beyond. The Immigration Ministry Team led us in spiritually supported education and non-violent direct actions like vigils at the ICE Detention Center. They led us in companioning local immigrant families and following their voices to advocate for immigration reform. All the while, the Immigration Ministry helped us reflect on the work: How are we being challenged and changed? How does our faith support us in the work?
Becoming a Sanctuary Congregation was a natural next step for us.
During the summer of 2017, we began a thorough discernment process that involved the entire congregation and other stakeholders. On October 29, 2017, the congregation voted (90% in favor) to approve this resolution:
We, the members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder, Colorado (UUCB), in accordance with the Seven Principles of our Unitarian Universalist Association and our mission of “Actively promoting Unitarian Universalist values here and in the wider world and sustaining these efforts through our culture of social justice and generosity”, hereby declare that when the opportunity arises UUCB will serve as a host sanctuary congregation.
We understand that, in collaboration with the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition, a host sanctuary congregation will provide an undocumented immigrant with a safe space for their body and spirit while openly resisting deportation, allowing the immigrant to retain the support of their family and community and to have a platform to publicly proclaim their prophetic message of a just and humane immigration policy. We commit to shared decision-making with the immigrant guest throughout this process.
In December of 2017, we welcomed Ingrid Encalada Latorre as our sanctuary guest. She and her children, Bryant, Anibal, and Elizabeth, have been at UUCB fighting to #keepfamiliestogether. In March of 2022, after having received a stay of removal, Ingrid and her family moved out, but the process continues. You can learn more about Ingrid’s journey by talking to a UUCB Sanctuary Now! leader at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Ingrid and Her Family
You can support Ingrid directly by donating to her Venmo @ingrid-encalada (preferred) or to her Go Fund My by clicking on this link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/continuing-support-for-ingrid-encalada