2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly declares the ELCA a sanctuary church

8/14/2019 12:00:00 PM

​CHICAGO — The 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly voted Aug. 7 to approve a memorial that affirms the denomination's long-standing commitment to migrants and refugees and declares the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) a sanctuary church body. The ELCA is the first North American denomination to declare itself a sanctuary church body.  

As a sanctuary church, the ELCA publicly declares that walking alongside immigrants and refugees is a matter of faith. This declaration does not call for any person, congregation or synod to engage in illegal activity.

The ELCA has developed talking points to address what it means for this church to become a sanctuary denomination. In defining what this means for its congregations, the ELCA states that a sanctuary church will look different in the different contexts across the ELCA. The church cannot mandate or direct ELCA congregations and ministries to respond in certain ways.

The 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly passed the strategy to Accompany Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities (AMMPARO). Through the strategy, the ELCA invites its churches to become "welcoming congregations," which means to commit to spiritually and physically accompanying migrants in their communities, pray for migrant children and families, and advocate for a just and humane immigration system. More than 100 congregations and five synods across the ELCA identify as sanctuary.  

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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands.," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.

For information contact:
Candice Hill Buchbinder
Public Relations Manager


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