SOLICITING INPUT: St. John’s to join Interfaith Coalition supporting Sanctuary State

Under the leadership of our Deacon Rex McKee, and with the full support of our Rector Lisa Wiens Heinsohn and Wardens Stacy Walters and Mark Lindberg, St. John’s vestry is preparing to decide whether St. John’s will join the Minnesota Sanctuary State Coalition (MSSC). This would involve St. John’s endorsing the MSSC Position Paper and having at least one St. John’s member active in MSSC. Rex is co-chair of this initiative, so the only question is whether St. John’s will endorse the Position Paper.  We are seeking the input of all St. John’s members, which can be sent to our Wardens Stacy Walters and Mark Lindberg, or to Deacon Rex McKee or Rector Lisa Wiens Heinsohn.  Below is background information about this topic.

The national Episcopal Church has increasingly supported the Sanctuary Movement, which involves refusing to use local resources of personnel, funds or information to collaborate with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or to transfer undocumented persons to ICE. At the 2015 and 2018 General Conventions, the Episcopal Church passed resolutions encouraging local faith communities to participate in local sanctuary state movements (Resolution Number 2018-C009 and Resolution Number 2015-D057). This arises directly out of our commitment to follow Jesus’ Way of Love, which includes biblical injunctions imploring us not to wrong or oppress the alien in our midst, Jesus’ own mandate to care for the stranger, and our baptismal covenant to strive for justice and peace among all people and to respect the dignity of every human being.

Beginning with the “What Would Whipple Do?” campaign in October 2019, the Episcopal Church in Minnesota (including both our former Bishop Prior and our current Bishop Craig Loya) have actively supported the Sanctuary State movement in Minnesota.  Minneapolis and St. Paul are already Sanctuary Cities; this campaign is to extend that status to the entire State. St. John’s leadership believes that there is significant overlap between our existing commitment to center the work of racial justice and healing in our community and the movement to oppose current practices of detention and deportation which predominantly impact immigrant neighbors of color. These practices tear families apart, and in some cases even involve people who have lived and worked here for many years. Furthermore, there are many immigrant communities within the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, including the Latino communities of St. Nicholas / San Nicolas in Richfield and El Santo Nino de Jesus in St. Paul, the predominantly Liberian community at St. Andrews in North Minneapolis, the Hmong community at Holy Apostles in St. Paul, the Karen community at Messiah in St. Paul, and others. ICE’s detention and deportation practices in Minnesota have put our brothers, sisters and siblings in Christ at risk, and indeed we have many other immigrant neighbors who have greatly contributed in countless ways to the rich and diverse quality of life here in Minnesota.

Please send your comments, questions and concerns to our Wardens Stacy Walters and Mark Lindberg, or to Deacon Rex McKee or Rector Lisa Wiens Heinsohn.

Thank you.