Does a Position Statement Speak Louder Than Words?

By FASPE Seminary Fellows Cornelia Dalton, Alissa Oleson, and Fr. Andrew De Silva

On August 7th, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) became the first North American denomination to declare itself a sanctuary church body. This action was voted upon at the denomination's triannual churchwide assembly held recently in Milwaukee, WI. As a sanctuary church, the ELCA is committing itself to supporting migrant children and families as they resettle in the country. While places of worship have a deep history of providing sanctuary, there has been increased energy around this type of action in response to recent statements from and steps taken by the current administration. In response to this news, many have questioned what being a sanctuary church means on the local level. While this declaration can be seen as a powerful statement, given the church’s polity, it does not require particular action or civil disobedience to be taken by laypeople, faith communities, or religious leaders. This leads to the question: what difference will this statement actually make to address treatment of undocumented migrants?

Read the full article from the Washington Post.