Offering Sacred Welcome Curriculum

Offering Sacred Welcome Curriculum

Offering Sacred Welcome is a curriculum designed to engage Episcopal congregations in prayerful reflection and thoughtful actions regarding immigrant and refugee justice.

This curriculum has been developed by the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice (IMIrJ) in partnership with the Diocesan Commission for Sanctuary. The groundwork for this initiative was laid with the “Welcoming the Stranger” resolution at the 2019 diocesan convention and the 2018 General Convention resolution “Becoming a Sanctuary Church.”

Commission member Hjalmer Lofstrom points out, “This curriculum supports the openings of small and large doors in the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon’s communities as a response to our Baptismal Covenant.”

The Commission on Sanctuary and IMIrJ are available to address questions and assist in adapting this curriculum for diverse communities. If you plan to use this curriculum for your congregation, please contact the Rev. Chris Craun at for support and to provide feedback.

Walking in Welcome

Migration, Hope, and Hospitality

A letter from Archdeacon Roger Saterstrom of the Diocese of Tennessee.

“You know the heart of an alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.” Exodus 23:9

The United Nations calculates that at the start of 2020, a record 70.8 million people were in a state of imposed migration, forcibly displaced from their countries of origin. An astounding 37,000 persons per day flee their homes around the globe, due to armed conflict or persecution.
This massive stream of humanity flows daily around the globe in mixed movements of men, women, and children traveling together, sometimes as family groups, sometimes solo, and always for a variety of reasons.

Some people are seeking legal protection through asylum in another country, some are refugees fleeing intolerably harsh conditions, others are stateless persons, or victims of trafficking, and even unaccompanied or separated children.

Regardless of their individual circumstances, these human beings in migration—the people that the author of Exodus described as “aliens”—are propelled by fear, desperation, and hope. And it is in this fear, desperation, and hope that some of these displaced persons come to us, where we dwell in relative comfort and peace.
Migration is where the global meets the local. We are not immune from the poverty and violence that drives people to seek safety and a new beginning.  We are the antidote. Indeed, for some, we are the embodiment of their hope for the future.
In our country, our communities, and our Church, whether we are aware of it or not, we engage daily with people all around us whose stories are part of this global phenomenon: the largest forced migration since World War II.

In the U.S. national conversation, in our politics and policy, in our own families, we ask: How did we get here? How should we respond? How do those who migrate experience our country’s immigration system? What does hospitality look like in these extreme circumstances? To what are we being called – as individuals and as a people of faith and shared humanity?
The Episcopal Church has assisted migrants for more than a century, establishing Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) to help refugees resettle in American communities. In partnership with a network of affiliated agencies, dioceses, churches, and volunteers, EMM is now one of only nine national agencies through which all refugees enter the United States.
EMM also hosts Partners in Welcome, an online learning community and ministry network for Episcopalians, congregations, dioceses, and other neighbors to come together to learn, share best practices, and discern how God is calling them to join in the work of welcome.

Thanks to the efforts of a number of Partners in Welcome members, EMM recently released Supporting Asylum Seekers: A Toolkit for Congregations. The toolkit provides frameworks through which to understand and discern ministry, as well as the “nuts & bolts” practical steps to the work of hosting and supporting an asylum seeker as they go through the legal process.
All are welcome to join Partners in Welcome, request a free copy of the Supporting Asylum Seekers toolkit, and to connect with EMM in 2020 for conversation, learning, ministry discernment, and more. Allison Duvall, EMM’s Manager for Church Relations & Engagement, may be reached at or (212) 716-6027.

This letter was originally published January 14, 2020 as a blog post for Episcopal Migration Ministries.

Offering Sacred Welcome to Immigrants and Refugees Workshop

Join the Commission for Sanctuary and leaders from the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice (IMIrJ) as we learn to live out our commitment to Confront Hate, Racism, and Poverty in the Diocese of Oregon as declared in our 2017 Resolution II. Together we will explore our stories of sacred welcome, connect with one another in the work happening in Oregon, and discover our next brave step in offering sacred welcome to immigrants and refugees.

St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Eugene
November 23, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Offering Sacred Welcome to Immigrants and Refugees Workshop

Join the Commission for Sanctuary and leaders from the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice (IMIrJ) as we learn to live out our commitment to Confront Hate, Racism, and Poverty in the Diocese of Oregon as declared in our 2017 Resolution II. Together we will explore our stories of sacred welcome, connect with one another in the work happening in Oregon, and discover our next brave step in offering sacred welcome to immigrants and refugees.

St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church, Wilsonville
November 16, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.


Results: Resolutions of Policy at 131st Annual Convention

Two resolutions were approved following discussion and vote at the 131st Annual Convention held October 25 and 26, 2019 at the Salem Convention Center.

Welcoming the Stranger passed in an amended form following an update from the submitters. Click here to read the approved version.

Property Use Report Deadline Extension was a late resolution submitted to Convention. Click here to read the approved resolution.

Welcoming the Stranger

At the 131st Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon, delegates voted to approve the following resolution.

Resolution of Policy: Welcoming the Stranger

RESOLVED that the 131st Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon urge all congregations and their members to support and participate in training and educational opportunities to offer sacred welcome to immigrants and refugees; and be it further

RESOLVED that, as part of this training, the Diocesan Commission for Sanctuary will offer workshops on offering sacred welcome to immigrants and refugees in the Portland metro area on November 16 at St. Francis, Wilsonville, and in the central portion of the Diocese on November 23 at St. Thomas, Eugene; and be it further

RESOLVED that, as a follow-up to the Workshops, the Diocesan Commission for Sanctuary will offer a plan for a series to be offered in diocesan congregations exploring aspects of the reality of offering sacred welcome to immigrants and refugees; and be it further

RESOLVED that all congregations of the Diocese be urged to offer the series either this coming Advent (2019), during the Sundays after Epiphany (2020), or in Lent (2020) in a format appropriate for their congregation.


This resolution is inspired by the resolution titled, “Confronting Hate, Racism, and Poverty in the Diocese of Oregon,” approved by the 129th Convention of the Diocese of Oregon in 2017. Among its several resolves, this resolution called for the creation of a Commission for Sanctuary to provide guidance on implementing the Biblical imperative to welcome the stranger.

The Biblical imperative is, of course, evident throughout the Scriptures, but is perhaps most clearly stated in the parable of the Good Samaritan: Jesus’ answer to the lawyer’s question, “Who is my neighbor?” At the end of that parable, Jesus tells the lawyer to “go and do likewise.”

But also providing foundational support for both this proposed resolution and the one approved in 2017, are our Baptismal Vows, where we promise that, with God’s help, we will

  • Continue in the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship and in the breaking of the bread and in the prayers
  • Persevere in resisting evil and whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord
  • Proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ
  • Seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself
  • Strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being

And while the last two of these promises may seem to pertain most clearly to this resolution, in fact, all are embodied in our efforts to follow Jesus’ lead as we identify our neighbors and embrace the strangers among us.

This resolution is also a response to the Resolution (C009), of the Episcopal Church, meeting in its General Convention in July 2018, which recommended “that its institutions and congregations become places of welcome, refuge, healing, and other forms of material and pastoral support for those targeted for deportation due to immigration status or some perceived status of difference.” It further encouraged “its members to connect with local and national sanctuary communities and institutions, faith-based coalitions, and immigrant rights groups and coalitions, and engage in educating, organizing, advocacy, and direct action” with the focus of ensuring “the safety, security, and due process for immigrants.”

In keeping with the resolution of The Episcopal Church (C009), this resolution offers ways for all of us in the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon to learn more about the plight and needs of immigrants and refugees, within and beyond our worshipping communities, and how best to accompany them as they confront countless daunting obstacles to their health, safety, and general well-being.

There will be no financial impact on the 2020 Operating Budget of the Diocese of Oregon. The workshops will be funded by an endowment grant from a congregation within the Diocese.

Episcopal Church Statement on the White House Decision to Reduce the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program

September 26, 2019

Note: the following information is presented in English and Spanish
Aviso: La siguiente información se presenta en inglés y en español

The Episcopal Church condemns the administration’s decision to reduce the number of refugees and further dismantle the refugee resettlement program. We also strongly condemn the decision to allow states and localities to reject refugees. The historic average for annual refugee admissions has been 95,000. The FY2020 determination of 18,000 refugees is the lowest in the forty year history of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to welcome the stranger and respect the dignity of every human being. Those fleeing persecution have a particular claim on our attention and concern as they seek a life of dignity and peace in the face of oppression.

“This decision will substantially hamper the vital work of Episcopal Migration Ministries to show the love of Christ to some of the most vulnerable people in the world” said The Rev. Dr. C.K. Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond The Episcopal Church. “There are millions of displaced persons around the world. The United States has a solemn obligation to do its part to aid this problem by showing generosity to refugees. Security and compassion are not mutually exclusive.”

Communities wholeheartedly value the opportunity to welcome refugees. Allowing states and localities to ban resettlement robs them of the myriad of benefits refugees bring wherever they go. It sends the wrong message to turn our backs on refugees who could enrich, strengthen, and revitalize our cities and towns.

Episcopal Migration Ministries, this church’s ministry of welcome to our refugee friends, has walked hand-in-hand with our refugee brothers and sisters for many years, helping smooth the transition to a new life here on our shores for more than 95,000 men, women, and children.

We urge Congress, and all people of goodwill, to make their voices heard in opposition to this decision. Since its founding as a nation the United States has stood as a beacon of hope for countless endangered members of God’s family. There is still room at the table for more of these precious children of God.


Take action by writing your members of Congress to express your support of refugee resettlement.

About Episcopal Migration Ministries:

Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) lives the call of welcome by supporting refugees, immigrants, and the communities that embrace them as they walk together in The Episcopal Church’s movement to create loving, liberating, and life-giving relationships rooted in compassion. EMM’s desire to honor the inherent value of human connection brings communities together to love their neighbors as themselves.

To directly support EMM and its life-changing work, visit or text ‘EMM’ to 41444 (standard messaging and data may rates apply).

About the Office of Government Relations:

The Office of Government Relations represents the policy priorities of The Episcopal Church to the U.S. government in Washington, D.C. We aim to shape and influence policy and legislation on critical issues, highlighting the voices and experiences of Episcopalians and Anglicans globally. All policy positions are based on General Convention and Executive Council resolutions, the legislative and governing bodies of the Church.

On the web:
Episcopal Migration Ministries
Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations

Declaración de La Iglesia Episcopal sobre la decisión de la Casa Blanca de reducir el programa de EE.UU. de admisión de refugiados.

27 de septiembre de 2019: En respuesta a la decisión del presidente de reducir drásticamente el reasentamiento de refugiados en el año fiscal 2020 y permitir que los estados y localidades veten el reasentamiento de refugiados, La Iglesia Episcopal emitió la siguiente declaración:

La Iglesia Episcopal condena la decisión de la administración de reducir el número de refugiados y desmantelar aún más el programa de reasentamiento de refugiados. También condenamos enérgicamente la decisión de permitir que los estados y las localidades rechacen a los refugiados. El promedio histórico de admisión anual de refugiados ha sido de 95,000. La determinación del año fiscal 2020 de 18,000 refugiados es la más baja en los cuarenta años de historia del programa de EE.UU. de admisión de refugiados.

El Evangelio de Jesucristo nos pide que acojamos al extraño y respetemos la dignidad de todo ser humano. Aquellos que huyen de la persecución tienen un reclamo particular sobre nuestra atención y preocupación mientras buscan una vida de dignidad y paz frente a la opresión.
“Esta decisión obstaculizará sustancialmente el trabajo vital de los Ministerios Episcopales de Migración de mostrar el amor de Cristo a algunas de las personas más vulnerables del mundo”, dijo el reverendo Dr. C.K. Robertson, canónigo del obispo presidente para el ministerio más allá de La Iglesia Episcopal. “Hay millones de personas desplazadas en todo el mundo. Estados Unidos tiene la obligación solemne de hacer su parte para ayudar en este problema al mostrar generosidad a los refugiados. La seguridad y la compasión no son mutuamente excluyentes”.

Las comunidades valoran sinceramente la oportunidad de recibir a refugiados. Permitir que los estados y las localidades prohíban el reasentamiento les roba la gran cantidad de beneficios que los refugiados aportan donde quiera que vayan. Envía un mensaje equivocado de darle la espalda a los refugiados que podrían enriquecer, fortalecer y revitalizar nuestras ciudades y pueblos.

Los Ministerios Episcopales de Migración, el ministerio de bienvenida de esta Iglesia a nuestros amigos refugiados, ha caminado de la mano con nuestros hermanos y hermanas refugiados durante muchos años, ayudando a facilitar la transición a una nueva vida aquí en nuestras costas a más de 95,000 hombres, mujeres y niños.
Instamos al Congreso, y a todas las personas de buena voluntad, a que hagan oír su voz en oposición a esta decisión. Desde su fundación como nación, Estados Unidos se ha mantenido como un faro de esperanza para innumerables miembros de la familia de Dios en peligro de extinción. Todavía hay espacio en la mesa para más de estos preciosos hijos de Dios.

Acerca de los Ministerios Episcopales de Migración:

Los Ministerios Episcopales de Migración (EMM) viven el llamado de bienvenida al apoyar a los refugiados, inmigrantes y las comunidades que los abrazan mientras caminan juntos en el movimiento de la Iglesia Episcopal para crear relaciones amorosas, liberadoras y vivificantes enraizadas en la compasión. El deseo de los EMM de respetar el valor inherente de la conexión humana une a las comunidades para amar a sus vecinos como a ellos mismos.

Para apoyar directamente a los EMM y su trabajo que cambia la vida, visite o envíe un mensaje de texto con el mensaje ´EMM´ al 41444 (pueden aplicarse tarifas estándar de mensajes y datos).

Sobre la Oficina de Relaciones Gubernamentales:

La Oficina de Relaciones Gubernamentales representa las prioridades políticas de La Iglesia Episcopal para el gobierno de EE. UU. en Washington, D.C. Nuestro objetivo es dar forma e influir en las políticas y la legislación sobre cuestiones críticas, destacando las voces y experiencias de los episcopales y anglicanos a nivel mundial. Todas las posiciones políticas se basan en las resoluciones de la Convención General y del Consejo Ejecutivo, los cuerpos legislativo y rector de la Iglesia.

En la web:

Ministerios Episcopales de Migración
Oficina de Relaciones Gubernamentales

We stand with the dreamers and will do all that we can to support them

Please consider taking the time to read this statement by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and the President of the House of Deputies concerning their support for DACA. As the statement proclaims:  “As people of faith, our obligation is first to the most vulnerable, especially to children.” It is my belief that the children in question deserve our best efforts to protect them from harm.


Presiding Bishop, President of House of Deputies on DACA:
We stand with the Dreamers
and will do all that we can to support them

Statement presented in English and Spanish
[September 5, 2017] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings have issued the following statement concerning the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

September 5, 2017

Today our hearts are with those known as the Dreamers—those young women and men who were brought to this country as children, who were raised here and whose primary cultural and country identity is American. We believe that these young people are children of God and deserve a chance to live full lives, free from fear of deportation to countries that they may have never known and whose languages they may not speak. As people of faith, our obligation is first to the most vulnerable, especially to children. In this moment, we are called by God to protect Dreamers from being punished for something they had no agency in doing.

Since 2012, individuals who are undocumented and who were brought to the U.S. as children have benefitted from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Through this program, those eligible have the opportunity to obtain a work permit and can secure protection from deportation. The nearly 800,000 recipients of DACA have proven that when given the opportunity, they succeed and contribute positively to our country. Without protection afforded by DACA or a legislative solution, these young people will live in fear of arrest, detention, and deportation to countries they may not remember. In six months those fears may become reality, so we must use that time wisely to advocate for their protection.

The Episcopal Church supports these undocumented youth as part of our decades-long commitment to walking with immigrants and refugees. Out of that commitment, we call on our nation to live up to its highest ideals and most deeply held values, and we call on Congress to take action to protect these young people and to formulate a comprehensive immigration policy that is moral and consistent and that allows immigrants who want to contribute to this country the chance to do so while keeping our borders secure from those whose business is in drugs, human trafficking or terror. We are committed to working actively toward both the passage of a bipartisan Dream Act by Congress and comprehensive immigration reform, and we will provide resources for Episcopalians who want to participate in this work.

For those of us who follow Jesus Christ, our Christian values are at stake. Humane and loving care for the stranger, the alien, and the foreigner is considered a sacred duty and moral value for those who would follow the way of God. In his parable of the last judgment, Jesus commended those who welcomed the stranger and condemned those who did not (Matthew 25:35 & 25:43). This teaching of Jesus was based on the law of Moses that tells the people of God: “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:33-35).

We stand with the Dreamers and will do all that we can to support them while we also work for the kind of immigration reform that truly reflects the best of our spiritual and moral values as people of faith and as citizens of the United States.



Hoy nuestros corazones están con aquellos a los que se conocen como “los soñadores”—esos jóvenes, mujeres y hombres, que fueron traídos a este país de niños, que se criaron aquí y cuya primera identidad cultural y nacional es estadounidense. Creemos que estos jóvenes son hijos de Dios y que merecen una oportunidad de vivir vidas plenas, libres del temor a la deportación a países que pueden nunca haber conocido y cuyos idiomas puede que no hablen. Como personas de fe, nuestra obligación es en primer lugar con los más vulnerables, especialmente los niños. En este momento, somos llamados por Dios a proteger a los Soñadores de ser castigados por algo en lo que no tuvieron ninguna participación voluntaria.

Desde 2012, los individuos que son indocumentados y que fueron traídos de niños a EE.UU. se han beneficiado del programa de la Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia (DACA por su sigla en inglés). A través de este programa, los que cumplen los requisitos tienen la oportunidad de obtener un permiso de trabajo y estar amparados de la deportación. Los casi 800.000 beneficiarios de DACA han demostrado que, cuando se les da la oportunidad, salen adelante y contribuyen positivamente a nuestro país. Sin la protección que ha brindado el DACA o una solución legislativa, estos jóvenes vivirán con miedo al arresto, la detención y la deportación a países que ellos puede que no recuerden. En seis meses  esos temores pueden convertirse en realidad, en consecuencia debemos utilizar ese tiempo inteligentemente para abogar por su protección.

La Iglesia Episcopal apoya a estos jóvenes indocumentados como parte de nuestro compromiso de décadas de acompañar a los inmigrantes y refugiados. A partir de ese compromiso, llamamos a nuestra nación a vivir a la altura de sus más elevados ideales y de sus más caros valores, y llamamos al Congreso a tomar medidas para proteger a estos jóvenes y para formular una política de inmigración global que sea moral y coherente y que les dé la oportunidad a los inmigrantes que quieren contribuir con este país de hacerlo así, al tiempo que mantenemos nuestras fronteras seguras ante los que se dedican al tráfico de drogas, a la trata de seres humanos o al terror. Estamos comprometidos a trabajar activamente, tanto por la aprobación en el Congreso de una Ley del Sueño [Dream Act] con apoyo bipartidario, como de una reforma migratoria global, y proporcionaremos materiales a los episcopales que quieran participar en este empeño.

Para aquellos de nosotros que seguimos a Jesucristo, nuestros valores cristianos están en juego. El cuidado humano y amoroso por el desconocido, el extranjero y el forastero se considera un deber sagrado y un valor moral para los que hemos decidido seguir el camino de Dios. En su parábola del juicio final, Jesús encomió a los que acogieron al extraño y condenó a los que no lo hicieron (Mt. 25:35 & 25:43). Esta enseñanza de Jesús se basaba en la ley de Moisés que le dice al pueblo de Dios: “Cuando el extranjero morare con vosotros en vuestra tierra, no le oprimiréis. Como a un natural de vosotros tendréis al extranjero que more entre vosotros, y lo amarás como a ti mismo; porque extranjeros fuisteis en la tierra de Egipto. Yo el Señor vuestro Dios”.  (Levítico 19:33-35).

Estamos con los Soñadores y haremos todo que podamos para apoyarlos, al tiempo que trabajamos en pro de una reforma migratoria que verdaderamente refleje lo mejor de nuestros valores espirituales y morales como pueblo de fe y como ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos.



The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry             The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings
Presiding Bishop and Primate                President, House of Deputies