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Soliciting Input on Sanctuary State Support

By May 5, 2021July 1st, 2021No Comments


What to do and when?

Before July 12, We are asking all St. John’s members to familiarize yourselves with the proposals of the Minnesota Sanctuary State Coalition and provide your input to  Wardens Stacy WaltersMark Lindberg, Deacon Rex McKee or Rector Lisa Wiens Heinsohn.  This information has been in the weekly e-news for more than a month, and it is now time for St. John’s to make a decision on this subject.

What is being decided?

Our vestry is deciding whether St. John’s will join the Minnesota Sanctuary State coalition of faith communities urging the Minnesota Congress to make Minnesota a Sanctuary State. Our Deacon Rex McKee is the co-chair of this coalition, which has the support of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota.  The sanctuary movement in many forms has long been supported by the national Episcopal Church as well.

What does this mean in general and for St. John’s?

In general, making Minnesota a Sanctuary State would mean passing legislation that prohibits state and local governments from using resources, personnel or information to collaborate with ICE, as is further described in the MSSC Position Paper. For St. John ‘s, it would mean signing our name to the coalition that supports this, and asking at least one person from St John’s to be involved in the coalition. That person is already Rex McKee, our deacon. This would not mean that St. John’s would house undocumented persons or that individual St. John’s members would be asked to engage in civil disobedience.

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.  

Background Information:

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.  Hennepin County already has limits on how local government collaborates with ICE. This campaign is to broaden and extend Sanctuary practices to the entire State of Minnesota. 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.