A weekly guide to stories about Unitarian Universalists from other media sources.
For the past two months, David Chavez-Macias has lived in a small room in First Unitarian Church of Reno, Nevada. Chavez-Macias has lived in the United States for 30 years, obtaining work permits annually. Although he has no criminal record, he recently received a speeding ticket, which put him on the radar of local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. While his current work permit is still valid, ICE agents issued a final order of deportation in April. Chavez-Macias, a husband and father of four, chose sanctuary over being sent back to Aguascalientes (a city in central Mexico with crime rates so high the State Department recently warned Americans against traveling there) in part because he has a rare medical condition that can be life-threatening without regular medical treatment. (Reno Gazette Journal – 6.12.17)
Just weeks after ICE agents in Saratoga Springs, New York, arrested sixteen men on the nonviolent felony charge of illegally re-entering the country, they arrested eleven more. Upon hearing this news, the Rev. Joe Cleveland of the UU Congregation of Saratoga Springs tried to intervene, but the arrests had already been made. The congregation recently declared themselves a sanctuary congregation and committed to proactively supporting immigrants in their community. The mayor of Saratoga Springs said of the arrests, “I've been told by business owners that the folks that are being picked up do have legal papers.” (Albany Times Union – 6.15.17)
“Bayside congregation becomes sanctuary; faith, community groups seek unified support of immigrants” (Times Standard News – 6.15.17)
“Due to a health problem, he preferred to seek sanctuary before being deported” (Al Dia News – 6.12.17)
Members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta, Georgia, participated in the “49 bells” ceremony happening across the country to honor the memory of the lives lost in the tragic shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. “We’ll pray that maybe there will not be anything like this in the future, but if there is that we will be strong and we’ll stand up against hate,” said the Rev. Gaye Ortiz, minister of the church. (WJBG.com – 6.12.17)
The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Binghamton, New York, welcomed Binghamton Pride Coalition and the local community for a worship service to honor the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. The service affirmed their acceptance of all people, no matter their sexual orientation. The multifaith event was also attended by ministers from local congregations of other faith traditions. (WICZ.com – 6.14.17)
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Rachel Walden is the communications specialist in the UUA Office of Information and Public Witness.
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