Rev. Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Press Conference Statement, Sanctuary, September 24, 2014
This morning, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) took part in a tele-press conference about the growing Sanctuary movement. Here are the remarks prepared by the Reverend Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly.
Consider two facts:
First, every day 1,000 people are deported from this country.
Second, three-fifths of the undocumented persons in this country have been here more than 10 years.
Think about that – more than 10 years.
So those at risk of deportation are known and beloved in our communities.
They are our friends and family.
Our church members and colleagues.
Our lives are inextricably intertwined.
We wear the same garment of destiny.
When faith bodies thought that comprehensive immigration reform was inevitable, we sadly stomached the daily disappearance of 1,000 of our brothers and sisters.
When President Obama held out Administrative action as an imminent form of relief, we bore the weight of the daily loss knowing that soon it would all be over.
After the President’s announcement on September 6th to, again, delay administrative relief to those at risk of deportation, faith bodies began to question the morality of waiting and bearing the daily loss of our brothers and sisters any longer.
And so here we are, at this point in the faith history of this country where congregations intercede by offering sanctuary.
In the book of Matthew, Jesus is asked what is the greatest commandment of all. He answers, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
The congregations involved in sanctuary are living out their love of neighbor by protecting families vulnerable to separation.
This denomination has a history of supporting churches that find sanctuary to be a moral response. We support Southside Presbyterian Church and University Presbyterian Church and pray for relief for Rosa Robles Loreto and Luis Lopez Acabal.
We are also honored to join with our interfaith partners across the United States in this sanctuary movement.