New York bishop gives 'full support' to church providing sanctuary to immigrant, child

Posted Aug 18, 2017

[Episcopal Diocese of New York] A statement on sanctuary by the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, the Rt. Rev. Andrew ML Dietsche, and on the Aug. 17 widely-publicized announcement that Holyrood Parish in Manhattan had provided sanctuary to an undocumented immigrant.

August 18, 2017

The Episcopal Diocese of New York has numerous Latino/Latina congregations, and thousands of immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries who worship at our altars and live as our brothers and sisters in sacred communion. In April I wrote a letter to the diocese encouraging parishes to protect their members who may be in danger, and to provide legal and pastoral resources to assist undocumented people in the actions they may be facing.  I asked our parishes to explore the possibility of sanctuary, and the different forms that sanctuary might take. My colleague, Bishop Mary Glasspool, gathered resources for churches which may be found on our diocesan website.

It is our conviction that decisions made to offer sanctuary must be made at the local, parochial level, and we know that what “sanctuary” means will differ from community to community. I have made it clear that I will in every case respect the pastoral decisions and judgments made by the clergy and leaders of our parishes in their care of their people. Providing safe refuge inside the church is only one of those possibilities, but it has a long and noble history in the Christian church. In America, government agencies have generally respected the sanctity of the church threshold.

Yesterday, Holyrood Parish in Washington Heights held a press conference in which they announced that they were providing sanctuary refuge in the church to an undocumented immigrant and her American-born children. I am not unmindful of the risks that this means both for the parish and for the sanctuary family. Yet in the changing landscape regarding immigration and deportations in which we find ourselves, I believe this is a well-considered choice marked by integrity and faith. The clergy and people of Holyrood Parish have my full support, the support of this diocese, and this imperiled family has my prayers.

The Rt. Rev. Andrew ML Dietsche, Bishop of New York


Comments (8)

  1. William Russiello says:

    It’s time to stand with the Lord. I support this action 100%.

  2. Nancy Collins says:

    I wasn’t able to reach “the resources for churches” using the link provided in the article. It may be me and my ancient computer. But could you please check to see if there is a problem at your end? Thank you.

    1. Mary Frances Schjonberg says:

      This link has been fixed with our apologies for the problem.

  3. Yaniris Urbaez says:

    There’s only one side here, so l will follow Jesus’, by offering my support to this family, in any way possible.

  4. Pjcabbiness says:

    I am opposed to this illegal politically motivated action. There is clearly more than one side here and the Bishop’s position is not supported by sound theology. The mother in question has the right to pursue relief from deportation legally. Again, leftist social action pandering. Instead of using this family to support a political ideology, the Bishop and local parishioners could put the funds together to hire an immigration attorney and actually solve the problem. It is likely that one could be found to assist at a significantly reduced rate.

  5. Bill louis says:

    What gives the bishop and priests the right to ignore the law? Isn’t that called obstruction of justice. If a regular citizen did the same thing we would be arrested. Why do priests and bishops think they are above the law? They should be arrested. Without the rule of law we have chaos. I suspect there will be a flurry of quotes from Scripture from their supporters. Bring it on. It doesn’t change the fact there are still laws being broken here.

  6. George Rojan says:

    I trust you will go to jail. Bad decisions have consequences.

  7. F. W. McKinnon says:

    It’s no wonder that the Episcopal Church is shrinking. Conservative church members are leaving faster than you can print pledge cards. The church has no authority to discriminate among the laws it chooses to obey. The church, the bishops and the clergy are not above the rule of law, without which we would have chaos.

Comments are closed.