A Message from Jaime, Keiko, and Yoshi

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Jamie, our guest in Sanctuary since March of 2019, his wife Keiko, and their son Yoshi have shared the following message of thanks to the cathedral community, as they begin the next stage of their journey.


Dear Saint Mark's community,

After 3 years of living in Sanctuary at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Jaime is ready to transition back to our home in the Shoreline community where we built our life together.

Looking back, we did not know what our journey would be like in Sanctuary.  We were desperate for ICE not to tear Jaime away from our family.

We drove to St. Mark’s that night with one backpack of toiletries and spare clothes, and we told our son that we were going camping in a special place. The truth was that we were terrified of what our life would be, all we knew was that St. Mark’s was the huge church we had seen from I-5. We were uncertain and worried if anyone in the church community would disapprove of us living on their campus. Over the years, we had experienced rejection from friends and acquaintances due to our immigration battle. The idea that a large number of strangers would be supportive of our family was unimaginable.

Hearing the words, “wherever you are in your spiritual journey you are welcome here”, immediately made us feel safe and gave us hope for the future. We learned these words are true to the St. Mark’s community, everyone opened their arms to welcome us. We are humbled by your support and the trust that you put in us. You inspired us and taught us the true meaning of community at the hardest time of our life.

Thank you so much for letting us be a part of your family and community, and for showing compassion and empathy to complete strangers.

This place, Sanctuary at St. Mark’s Cathedral, became our home during the last three long years. Our son grew from having little baby cheeks into a pre-teen boy. We have to admit it is a little frightening for Jaime to go back into society where his future is uncertain and find a purpose of his life again. But we are happy to go home.  Our son recently said, “I am so excited for next week!” When we asked him why, he answered “we are going home!”

Even though Jaime’s immigration journey is far from over, we are excited to continue fighting for his rights to stay, and the possibility of his residency.  Right now, we are celebrating that we can be together again as family with our heads held high. We are grateful to continue to be a part of this amazing community and appreciate each and every one of you.

With Gratitude,

Jaime, Keiko and Yoshi

April 6, 2022

 

 

Update from the Salahi Family

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above: The Salahi family asked to attend the 11 p.m. Christmas Eve service, during which they were introduced to the congregation.

In February 2022, the Saint Mark's community met the Salahi family at a moving Wednesday forum -- video of that forum may be seen here. They are a family from Afghanistan that this cathedral is assisting as they begin their new life in the U.S. The Salahi family has sent the following message to the cathedral community:


Dear St. Mark's community,

We are writing to provide you with an update on our refugee resettlement process and to again, thank you so much for your wonderful support. As our mother, Razia Salahi says, "the love from our friends at St. Mark’s is much appreciated and is the source of joy and peace for the family”. Our hearts go out to our fellow Afghans and to those struggling in Ukraine. We understand their pain and the significant challenges involved in leaving everything you love and know behind to seek safety.

We've now been in the US for six months and in Seattle for three months. Our time has been marked by the opportunities and challenges of resettlement life. On January 25th, we moved into our apartment and the five of us - especially our mother - have made it our new home. Solaiman has received a job offer and started to work from March 21st. Zobair is spearheading the lengthy legal process for each of us to follow the immigration laws and system including meeting with lawyers (many provided by St. Mark's contacts) and focusing on specialists with the asylum process. Our current status will expire on September 8th, 2023. This is an ongoing part of our daily life.

Zobair is also seeking employment and is open to jobs in academics and policy research fields. Any leads would be great. On Friday, March 18th, Rohanya started school at Shoreline Community College to study English and then move on to technology studies along with Harris who will study sound engineering. Razia is keeping our family's spirits up as we all adjust to the ups and downs of life here.

We look forward to meeting with you again and are available to connect with St. Mark's members.

Forum on The Santa Marta Anglican Center

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Above: Santa Marta Center donation links. Click to enlarge.

UPDATED WITH VIDEO

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 10:10–10:50 A.M., Bloedel Hall or via Zoom.

The Santa Marta Anglican Center: Supporting LGBTIQ+ youth in El Salvador

The Santa Marta Anglican Center supports LGBTIQ+ youth in El Salvador who are facing homelessness. It is a ministry of the Diocese of El Salvador, part of the Anglican Church in Central America. Attend this Sunday morning form in person or online to learn more about Diocese of El Salvador's work to advance LGBTIQ+ rights, celebrate LGBTIQ+ stories, and support LGBTIQ+ youth and young adults who have been kicked out of their homes.

Check out an article about the work of the Center here.

Their fundraising official, Joseph Russ, is visiting from El Salvador to share the story of founding the Center, the faith that grounds this work, and how this faith becomes action by accompanying queer Salvadoran youth and young adults.

A complete video of the presentation may be seen here:

Meet the Salahi Family

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above: The Salahi family asked to attend the 11 p.m. Christmas Eve service, during which they were introduced to the congregation.

UPDATED WITH MATERIALS AND NEW INFORMATION

A complete recording, slides, and other material from the event are now available below. At the forum, the Salahi family introduced themselves, told the harrowing story of their departure from Kabul and arrival in the United States, and talked about their current needs and their hopes for the future.

Saint Mark’s has been asked to support the Salahi family in a few ways. Please prayerfully consider how you might help:

  1. Rent subsidy. We have committed funds from the Clergy Discretionary Fund to help with their rent this first year.
  2. Immigration lawyer. Parishioners have facilitated initial work with lawyers on long-term visa paperwork.
  3. Education Expenses. Two will attend Community College; one will be a grad student at UW.
  4. A car. The family has relocated to the north end, and needs to secure a vehicle. If you have one to donate, let us know.

If you’d like to know more, or to make a gift in support of Saint Mark’s Ministry with Afghan Refugees, contact Dean Thomason or Erik Donner or Ginna Brelsford.


WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2022, 6:45–8:15 P.M., in person in Bloedel Hall or online via Zoom

Last August the Salahi family—Razia, her three adults sons Solaiman, Zobair, and Harris, and daughter-in-law Rohanya—fled their native Afghanistan on a moment’s notice, and after four arduous months in transitional facilities, relocated to Seattle in December. Just last week they transitioned to permanent housing in Shoreline. Saint Mark’s Cathedral has committed to supporting them as they begin their new lives here. Their story is at once harrowing and inspiring, and they are eager to share it with us as we seek to deepen the relationships with this most remarkable family.


The presentation slides from the forum may be seen here.

The video of Afghanistan presented during Solaiman's presentation may be seen below (only the first 5 minutes were played Wednesday evening):

A complete video of the forum may be seen here:

Sanctuary Update, December 2021

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UPDATED WITH VIDEO

PRESS CONFERENCE AND RALLEY: MONDAY, DECEMBER 20, 12 P.M.

Today we were able to share the good news that Jaime’s case has been reopened, which means he will have his day in court to consider whether he might be granted a path to remain in this country with his family. This is a step toward a just outcome, and while the legal proceedings will unfold over the next several months, and may take more than a year, this action allows Jaime to apply for a work permit (which he has done), and to be relieved of the immediate risk of deportation.

The Seattle Times has published an article about these developments.

Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral’s Guest in Sanctuary to Announce an Important Development in the Struggle to Avoid the Separation of His Family

December 16, 2020

SEATTLE, WA—In March of 2019, Jaime Rubio Sulficio, a husband, father, business owner, and community leader facing an imminent, unjust deportation to Mexico, was received into Sanctuary at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle. For the following two years and eight months, he has continually sought a legal remedy that would allow him to stay in the United States and avoid separation from his wife and son, who are both American citizens.

Saint Mark’s Cathedral and the Church Council of Greater Seattle are now happy to announce that Jaime and his family have received news of some positive developments in his case. Legal hurdles remain, and he and his wife Keiko continue to work closely with his attorney and with the Sanctuary Network, a coalition of faith communities working together to accompany immigrants in situations like his.

Details of this significant development will be announced and celebrated at Saint Mark’s Cathedral on Monday, December 20, 2021, at 12 p.m. Members of the press, people of faith, and all with an interest in Jaime’s case and in immigration policy are encouraged to attend. (Masks must be worn by all while inside the cathedral building.) The event will also be livestreamed on the cathedral’s website, and may be seen on this page or on saintmarks.org/livestream

The tradition of Sanctuary in houses of worship has deep biblical and historical roots. For centuries, churches and other religious spaces have served as places of welcome, hospitality, and moral protection for people who fear harm or violence towards them. Saint Mark’s Cathedral and the Church Council of Greater Seattle will continue to work, through prayer and action, towards a just, equitable, and compassionate immigration policy in this country.

About Saint Mark’s: Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral strives to be a house of prayer for all people, where we worship God and proclaim the reconciling Gospel of Jesus Christ; a loving, welcoming, inclusive community that nurtures faith, encourages service, and integrates social and environmental justice into our lives; a sacred gathering place for the Diocese of Olympia and the broader community in times of crisis, sorrow, and celebration.

About the Church Council of Greater Seattle: The Church Council of Greater Seattle builds collective power through faith-rooted community organizing for transformational change toward liberation and justice.  We envision a future when justice is realized, where all people experience liberation, profound peace, expansive equity, and joy-filled human flourishing. www.thechurchcouncil.org

For media inquiries about Sanctuary, contact Michael Ramos of the Church Council of Greater Seattle at 206.465.6263 or mramos@thechurchcouncil.org

For media inquiries about Saint Mark’s Cathedral, contact Gregory Bloch at 206.323.0300 x259 or info@saintmarks.org

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REPORT: Sanctuary Event at Saint Mark’s

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On Wednesday, March 17, Saint Mark's was the location for a gathering of faith communities, activists, family, and friends celebrating the reuniting of Jose Robles with his family after 20 months of detention at the Northwest Detention Center. Prior to entering detention, Jose lived for a year in Sanctuary in Gethsemane Lutheran Church in downtown Seattle. This gathering also marked Jaime Rubio’s upcoming two-year anniversary of being in sanctuary at Saint Mark’s, as he continues to work toward a legal remedy.

This event was covered by local media, including KIRO-7 (story includes video) and KUOW (audio available).

Wednesday's event was co-hosted by Saint Mark's, Gethsemane Lutheran, and the Church Council of Greater Seattle. Some photographs from the event, and a complete video may be seen below.

Click to enlarge.

A Report from a Visit to the Border

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Saint Mark’s Sanctuary volunteers Dee Cappelletti, Melinda Kmitta, George Moore, and Maris Olsen, along with Canon Nancy Ross, traveled to McAllen and Brownsville, Texas, and Matamoros, Mexico, in January 2020. There they joined Episcopalians from around the country witnessing the realities of the dire situation for migrants and refugees at our southern border. They met refugees and asylees, some 2,000 strong, who are camped in a squalid tent city, most waiting months for a chance for an asylum hearing. At a special Sunday Forum at Saint Mark's on February 9, they reported on what they saw... and what we can do.

Jaime’s Story in his own words

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Jaime Rubio Sulficio, father, husband, and community leader, is living in Sanctuary at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral while he seeks a legal remedy that would allow for a stay of deportation to Mexico and keep his family together. He shared his reflections on life in Sanctuary with the community at a forum led by Reverend Nancy Ross, in Bloedel Hall, on October 2, 2019.

The tradition of Sanctuary has deep biblical and historical roots as places of welcome, hospitality, and moral protection in sacred space for people who fear harm or violence towards them. There are nearly 50 immigrants at risk of deportation who have taken Sanctuary in congregations in the United States since 2016.

Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral strives to be: a house of prayer for all people, where we worship God and proclaim the reconciling Gospel of Jesus Christ; a loving, welcoming, inclusive community that nurtures faith, encourages service, and integrates social and environmental justice into our lives; a sacred gathering place for the Diocese of Olympia and the broader community in times of crisis, sorrow, and celebration.

Sanctuary Press Conference, March 29, 2019

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On March 29, 2019, Saint Mark's Cathedral made the announcement that it is welcoming an immigrant facing deportation into Sanctuary on the Cathedral grounds. A pdf of the press release may be downloaded here. The full text may be read below.


Press Release
March 29, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:  Michael Ramos, 206-465-6263

Father Seeks Sanctuary at Seattle Cathedral:


Beloved Business Owner and Dance Instructor
Seeks Legal Remedy to Keep Family Together

 

Seattle, WA, March 29, 2019: Jaime Rubio Sulficio, father, husband, and community leader, has been received into Sanctuary at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle. He has a United States citizen son and is married to a U.S. citizen. He seeks a legal remedy that would allow for a stay of deportation to Mexico and allow for the reuniting of his family. He sees the prospect of permanent separation as immoral, arbitrary, and unjust, causing long-term hardship to his wife who faces health challenges and inflicting emotional trauma for his son, a tender six years of age. Going into Sanctuary was not an easy choice. “It’s difficult to be apart from my family. I can’t imagine not being able to see my son and wife. I will stay in Sanctuary while we find a legal remedy for my situation,” states Rubio Sulficio.

The Dean of Saint Mark’s Cathedral, The Very Rev. Steven Thomason shares the Cathedral’s decision to accept Jaime into Sanctuary: “From our faith teachings, we are instructed to care for our neighbors as ourselves and to offer hospitality and kindness to people in need. Such as is the case for Jaime. We will stand with Jaime and his family until he is granted the opportunity to return home and restart his construction business.”

Michael Ramos of the Church Council of Greater Seattle noted, “Local faith communities applaud Saint Mark’s Cathedral for providing Sanctuary to Mr. Rubio Sulficio. His courageous step to stop the process of being torn from his family sheds light on the unjust practice of deporting hundreds of thousands of people annually with deep roots in the U.S. and who pose no threat to society. Sanctuary gives a human face to these hard-working, socially-contributing and family-oriented immigrants who belong here.”

In welcoming Mr. Rubio Sulficio into Sanctuary and providing support for his family, Saint Mark’s recognizes them as part of the congregation’s family. They are children of God, deserving of dignity and respect, to be honored for preserving the integrity of their family as a life-affirming, profoundly sacred act. The Church Council of Greater Seattle extends the solidarity of its “For Such a Time as This” network congregations, 150-strong. The Church Council recognizes the loving hospitality of this cathedral, in partnership with justice-seeking organizations, toward protecting family unity and proclaiming in word and deed that what is required of us is “to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8).

The tradition of Sanctuary has deep biblical and historical roots as places of welcome, hospitality, and moral protection in sacred space for people who fear harm or violence towards them. There are nearly 50 immigrants at risk of deportation who have taken Sanctuary in congregations in the United States since 2016.

Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral strives to be: a house of prayer for all people, where we worship God and proclaim the reconciling Gospel of Jesus Christ; a loving, welcoming, inclusive community that nurtures faith, encourages service, and integrates social and environmental justice into our lives; a sacred gathering place for the Diocese of Olympia and the broader community in times of crisis, sorrow, and celebration.
Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral is located at 1245 10th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102.

www.saintmarks.org

For email inquires about Sanctuary, contact Michael Ramos of the Church Council of Greater Seattle at 206-465-6263.

For media inquiries about Saint Mark’s Cathedral, contact Gregory Bloch at 206.323.0300 x 259.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson speaks about Immigration Reform

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Event Moderated by The Right Rev. Bishop Greg Rickel

Saint Mark’s hosted WA State Attorney General Bob Ferguson on October 17, 2018, in the Cathedral Nave, who shared his thoughts on the current state of immigration both locally and nationally, as well how we can continue our involvement toward sensible and equitable policies.

The event included a follow-up panel discussion moderated by The Right Rev. Greg Rickel, Bishop of the The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, with Marcos Martinez, Executive Director of Casa Latina; Estela Ortega, Executive Director of El Centro de la Raza; and Michael Ramos, Executive Director of The Church Council of Greater Seattle.

Why Sanctuary at Saint Mark’s?

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In Christ’s church, all are welcome, but it’s not just in church – it is in our common life. Saint Mark’s stands in solidarity with all our neighbors, especially immigrants who are living in fear in these fraught times. Sanctuary at Saint Mark’s Cathedral is an outgrowth of our 2016 Statement of Commitment and Action, our response to the climate of increasing division and violence in our nation.

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. –John 13:34

Fundamental in the life of a Christian community, we take a stand to “welcome the stranger, as our Scriptures instruct.” In living into that call as a Sanctuary Hub, we are in relationship with Casa Latina, a leading immigrant worker rights organization in Seattle, with our volunteers trained and serving as witnesses and legal observers, accompaniers, interpreters, and peacemakers, and with Saint Mark’s Safe Space a gathering place for building relationship and a harbor in times of trouble. We stand as Sanctuary because we are all God’s beloved. You are welcome to join us. If you have questions about this ministry or are interested in becoming involved, please e-mail sanctuary@saintmarks.org.

Community Resources:

Casa Latina is an immigrant workers rights organization in Seattle that empowers low-wage Latino immigrants to move from economic insecurity to economic prosperity and to lift their voices to take action around public policy issues that affect them.

The Church Council of Greater Seattle is an ecumenical nonprofit focusing on organizing faith communities around various social justice issues. One of their focus areas is immigrant and refugee accompaniment. Visit their website for details on their work, resources, and contact information.

The Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network is a Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights organizations and individuals that strive to protect, serve and strengthen support capacity and resources to build power and a united voice in Washington.

OneAmerica is the largest immigrant and refugee advocacy organization in Washington State, organizing with and advocating for diverse communities including Latinx, African, and Asian. Initially named Hate Free Zone, OneAmerica was founded immediately after September 11, 2001 to address the backlash, hate crimes, and discrimination against immigrant communities of color, primarily Muslims, Arab Americans, East Africans, and South Asians.

The City of Seattle's Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs has a wonderful list of resources and programs on their website. One of their programs includes the Immigrant Legal Defense Network.