The Jan. 22 edition of The Living Church is available online to registered subscribers.
In the cover story, G. Jeffrey MacDonald reports about the necessary planning for congregations that wish to offer sanctuary to people who fear they may be deported:
Long aligned with progressive causes, Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland, Oregon, did not hesitate when Pastor Mark Knutson announced 20 years ago that the church would be a “sanctuary congregation” where undocumented immigrants could avoid federal agents with warrants to deport them.
But that did not mean Augustana’s congregants were fully prepared when their commitment was suddenly tested in 2014.
With federal agents in pursuit of El Salvadoran national Francisco Aguirre, Augustana’s chancel was transformed overnight into a sleeping space. A husband, father, and local labor organizer, Aguirre also faced charges for drunken driving and illegal re-entry after a prior deportation. How long he would be a 24/7 resident of the church was anybody’s guess.
“It’s like having a baby,” Knutson said. “You don’t know everything you’re going to do, and you start to figure it out as you go forward.”
Insight gleaned from churches like Augustana became a sought-after commodity after Donald Trump’s election as the 45th President. Calls have poured into Augustana’s office from at least 15 congregations in the post-election period, Knutson said. Callers want to know what it takes to be a sanctuary church, to hold off government agents and help an undocumented immigrant remain in America.
Deacon to be Church’s Chief Operating Officer
Taking the Side of Safety | By G. Jeffrey MacDonald
Righteous Garments | By Matthew Townsend
Plan for Compassion | By G. Jeffrey MacDonald
Twelve-Hour Coffee Hour | By Mark Michael
Necessary or Expedient?
A Good Map for the Journey | By Scott Gunn
Envisioning the Congregation, Practicing the Gospel | Review by Patrick Gahan
The Contours of Justice at Standing Rock | By Will Brown
Worth the Struggle | By John M. Gullett
People & Places