Congregational Resolution to Become a Level 2 Sanctuary Congregation

Prepared for the May 21, 2017 Annual Congregational Meeting

Passed by the congregation on that date



We, the congregation of First Church Unitarian Universalist in Jamaica Plain, resolve to become a Level 2 sanctuary congregation.  We authorize the Social Justice Action Committee, with the formal approval of the Standing Committee, to declare the congregation in support of a neighboring Level 1 congregation that has offered sanctuary to an undocumented person or family at risk of deportation.  


Upon such a vote of approval from the Standing Committee, members of the Social Justice Action Committee would work to organize the congregation to provide help as requested by our Level 1 sanctuary partner, to the extent that our congregation is able.



We, the congregation of First Church Unitarian Universalist in Jamaica Plain, believe that just as love knows no borders, our dedication to justice reaches across boundaries and walls. We support all people, regardless of citizenship status, and strive to create welcoming communities and congregations. We organize and advocate for immigration reform, for an end to detentions and deportations, and for a world where hands are extended in peace and care across borders, and no one feels forced to leave home or risk death in pursuit of a decent life for themselves or their family.


To enact these values, First Church elects to join with other local congregations to become a Level 2 sanctuary congregation, partnering with a Level 1 sanctuary congregation. A Level 2 congregation is a congregation that offers support, including volunteer time, food, and supplies, to a Level 1 congregation that has elected to physically offer sanctuary in their church building.



The Social Justice Action Committee has formed a subcommittee, the Immigration Justice Leadership Team (IJLT).  This subcommittee of 3-5 people communicates with the Level 1 church on behalf of First Church, to clarify expectations of support and the roles and responsibilities of each church, and to coordinate the activities of First Church members.


When there is a request from a Level 1 Sanctuary congregation, the IJLT assesses the capacity of First Church to provide the support requested.  The IJLT is authorized to negotiate in good faith the relationship with the Level 1 church. Once reasonable expectations are mutually determined, the IJLT requests a vote of confirmation from the Standing Committee.


Standing Committee authorization is understood to apply as a declaration of support for only one Level 1 congregation at a time.  Any new request(s) would require new authorization.



Supporting a Level 1 congregation could take many forms depending on the specific situation, such as:

  • Issuing a public statement supporting the Level 1 congregation and immigrant in sanctuary.

  • Attending rallies or posting a sign or banner on our church building.

  • Coordinating members of the church interested in providing requested support such as providing meals, running errands, or spending time with the person in sanctuary.

  • The IJLT would be responsible for coordinating the provision of food such as prepared meals, ingredients, or non-perishables donated by the Food Pantry (as available), and would assume responsibility for raising funds to cover costs.

  • The IJLT would determine if training on nonviolent resistance is necessary, and if our volunteers are willing to engage in such resistance. Such engagement is at the discretion of each individual volunteer member.


In the spirit of the UUA/UUSC Declaration of Conscience affirmed by this congregation, we answer the call of social justice and love with this commitment.