Thursday, August 17, 2006
Sanctuary
If you go to my blog and click on the link, "Poplar Grove United Methodist Church", then click the link there that says "UMC Website", you will read a story about a United Methodist lay person, harassed by our government, seeking sanctuary inside a Chicago church (personal note: my wife is a pastor in the same UM Conference, and is a good friend of the Chicago Northwest District Superintendent). There is little mention in the article - from United Methodist News Service (UMNC) - of the woman's local pastor; I must admit, also, that I found the statement from our resident bishop, Hee-Soo Jung, tepid at best. Nevertheless, the woman is seeking sanctuary, an internationally recognized right; as long as her local pastor and its Board of Trustees (those whose responsibility it is to oversee the maintenance of the physical plant of the church as well as any legal issues involved as it pertains to the question of sanctuary) stand by her, the government cannot take her, and her child, a US citizen, can stay with his mother.
I would ask you to remember this woman, an active church person, a lay leader in fact, who loves her son, and only asks that she be allowed to stay and raise him here. I would ask you to remember the church, its pastor and members, its bishop and other clergy as they wrestle with this. I would ask that you all hope that the Church not surrender its centuries-old tradition of sanctuary, but rather would honor its mission to serve those in need, protect those who have no no protection, and challenge those who would use power to destroy a family. If that happens (a big "if", but wonders are still possible), perhaps the name "Christian" will be a bit less of an albatross.
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