March 29, 2018

On May 7, 2017, Lakeshore voted to become a Sanctuary Congregation. Empowered by our church theme Welcome the Stranger, we responded to God’s stirring within us to discern how best to support and stand in solidarity with the migrant community, who endure injustice at the hands of our government.

Over the past the year we have been living into this identity, led by the Sanctuary Working Group and our partners in the community. This work has included engaging in advocacy work in Sacramento, attending and leading vigils at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond, marching in support of DACA and against the ICE raids in the Bay Area, and attending meetings to both educate ourselves on sanctuary work and partner with the interfaith community in working for justice for our migrant sisters and brothers.

At our most recent Forum on Sanctuary, our congregational conversation lifted up two areas we would like to focus on going forward. First, we feel the need to continue to hear stories and develop relationships with undocumented migrants in our community. This will help us understand on a personal level the injustices faced by many, how people are coping, and what we can do to support those who are vulnerable. Second, and connected, we are considering what it would mean to accompany a family affected by the mass detentions taking place. This would allow us to further develop relationship, stand in solidarity with a specific family, and partner together to promote justice. Both of these projects allow us to more fully live into our current church theme, Love One Another: Building Relationships, Bringing Hope.

Strength From Our Roots is the current project we are supporting to develop relationships with our congregational partnerships in sanctuary work. Through story sharing, singing and creating new music, poetry and stories together, we celebrate Oakland’s diversity, draw strength from our community, and engage in sweet subversion against all that seeks to divide us. I hope you will be able to come out on Sunday afternoon, April 29, at 3 p.m. (Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church, 1188 12th St.) to celebrate with us in a communal choir and performances of our artistic expressions. If you’d like to join in the choir, practices are Monday evenings from 6-8. Contact me for location. We will also have rehearsals the weekend before our concert.

I am inspired by the sanctuary work Lakeshore is a part of, and the ways this work is allowing us embrace our Christian formation in new and powerful ways!