Eighteen months after voting to become a sanctuary congregation, Cedar Lane welcomed our first guest into physical sanctuary.
Rosa Gutiérrez López was scheduled for deportation the morning of December 10, 2018. She would have left behind three U.S.-born children and a full life – work, her own church community, friends, and more. Instead, she made the difficult decision to come into sanctuary at Cedar Lane, determined to continue to fight her legal case.
Immediately our Sanctuary Leadership Team sprang into action. Putting the finishing touches on what would be Rosa’s living space and stocking the fridge were first on the list, but they quickly moved on to training volunteers, creating systems for communications, and seeking answers to all the questions we never anticipated.
We are now more than one year in – and Rosa’s three children have joined her in residence at Cedar Lane. Her children’s presence is a blessing. Rosa deeply missed them while they finished the school year in their home town. She is gratified to see them every day – preparing their meals, checking homework, guiding their growth and development.
Cedar Lane congregants and others have stepped up in ways we only hoped for, giving generously of their time, talent, and financial support.
As a congregation, we are living our faith, resisting the unjust and family-fracturing immigration policies of our government, and broadening our social justice community to include many other nearby communities of faith. Our guest, however, is dealing with a loss of income, separation from her community, and the prospect of being returned to a situation of violence and peril.
We would not have been able to sustain our sanctuary work to date without the support of hundreds of volunteers who give thousands of hours of their time each month. In addition to Cedar Lane members, many come from religious institutions that are members of Congregation Action Network, a group of 70+ congregations in the DC/MD/VA area that is committed to providing support and solidarity to our neighbors who fear being detained, deported, or profiled. CAN has provided trusted guidance to Cedar Lane’s lay leaders and staff.
How you can support Sanctuary for Rosa:
- Serve on the Sanctuary Crew: New volunteers are always needed to sustain our efforts. There are opportunities for many different types of participation. Our greatest needs are for volunteers to serve as daytime and night-time companions, interpreters/translators, and to assist with meals/errands, and children's transportation and activities. Proficient Spanish speakers are always especially valued. At this time, we are also seeking volunteers with expertise in the areas of family law and nutritional counseling. In order to serve on the Sanctuary Crew, you must attend a Sanctuary Training. Our upcoming training dates are: Th, April 2, 6:30 - 9 pm, Chalice House, Sat, April 18, 8:30 - 11 am, Chalice House, Sun, May 3, 2:30 - 5 pm, Chalice House. Click here to learn more and sign-up.
- Donate to our Sanctuary Fund: Donations to Cedar Lane’s Sanctuary Fund are needed and much appreciated. Click here to donate online and select “Sanctuary Support” in the drop-down menu.
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