The ORUCC congregation adopted a resolution in 2017 that declared, “As a community of faith…committed to justice, and in solidarity with our undocumented brothers and sisters whose lives and families are being torn apart by our country’s immigration policies and enforcement action, we…declare ourselves to a be a Sanctuary Congregation. We commit to engage in support, advocacy and service as best we are able to our immigrant neighbors in collaboration with the interfaith community and the broader Dane Sanctuary network. Included in this commitment is the willingness to provide physical sanctuary as the need arises.”
The commitment of ORUCC to immigration justice is set within a storied history of activism and support of social justice issues. Our commitment is grounded biblically in the call for hospitality and justice, and found expression locally in the sanctuary movement of the 1980’s in Madison. Church-led trips to the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Nicaragua sponsored by Habitat for Humanity sustained and heightened our commitment in the early 2000’s, and an extended trip to the Mexican border foreshadowed the ORUCC decision to become a sanctuary church.
The decision to become a sanctuary ushered in a period of education and advocacy of immigration justice that continues to this day through educational forums, letter-writing campaigns, fundraising efforts, and support of immigration policy efforts at the local, state, and national level. From October – December 2019, we welcomed a Honduran family of five to reside in our church building. This prompted the organization of a groundswell of over 100 volunteers, application of a volunteer scheduling database, and a multitude of other activities centered on providing housing and support for the family.
Many of our activities are done in collaboration with other Wisconsin churches and organizations under the umbrella of the Dane Sanctuary Coalition and Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice. We have joined and supported multiple educational and fundraising activities of these organizations and of other mission teams of our church. During the pandemic years, we focused our efforts on the impact of COVID-19 on low-wage and immigrant workers, and protection against COVID-19 for immigrants in Wisconsin detention centers and penitentiaries.
We stay current on U.S. immigration policy and the impact of those policies on the local immigrant population and those at the border. We have held clothing drives and transported the clothing to the border. The chair of our Immigration Justice team has volunteered at Casa Alitas, the immigrant welcome center in Tucson. We have provided funds through ORUCC Compassion Offerings to organizations such as the Madison-based Community Immigration Legal Center. With the onset of the Afghan crisis, we provided current information on Afghan resettlements and held a Gift Card Sunday to provide grocery funds and bus passes to Dane County Afghan refugees.
We extend a hearty welcome to anyone interested in building a community and nation of justice for all.
For more information contact Ruthanne Landsness