May 4, 2020
May 8 marks our third anniversary of being a Sanctuary Congregation – our renewed commitment to stand with the immigrant community as they face injustice and inhumanity by our government. We’ve lived out this ministry in a number of ways over the past three years and, as with everything, our work has taken a new direction and meaning in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lakeshore was approached several weeks ago about the possibility of using our sanctuary during the shelter-in-place to provide temporary shelter for an ICE detainee so s/he could be released to the community. Immigration attorneys have been hard at work trying to release medically vulnerable detainees before an outbreak threatens their lives. ICE is slowly releasing people, if they have a place to stay. We were invited to be a way station for individuals to gain release and rest up before transitioning to their family and community.
If you were part of our worship on Sunday, you had a chance to meet Oscar, who has been in detention over four years. Oscar was released last week with Lakeshore’s commitment to receive him. He has made his home in our family room and felt the love and care of our Sanctuary Team over the weekend. He will hopefully head to a more comfortable space later today. Despite our meager accommodations, Oscar has felt very loved, welcomed and cared for – a powerful reminder that he is wanted, needed and cherished by his community, despite all he has endured at the hands of ICE.
In addition to providing sanctuary for Oscar, Lakeshore has also provided hotel space for two weeks for a trans migrant who was at risk of being unsheltered. She has now received resources to transition to more stable housing.
Lakeshore’s Sanctuary Working Group has been hard at work during shelter-in-place to provide opportunities for our community to have shelter, as well as live out our congregation’s commitment to welcome the stranger, love our neighbor and work for justice in our community. If you would like to support these efforts, we invite you to contribute to the Fellowship Fund, which allows us to continue to meet the needs of our neighbors. You can contribute via the church website or by sending a check to the church.
Grateful to be in this together,