¡Encuentro! Meet People in El Salvador and Hear about the Work on for LGBTQ Rights and Safety

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¡Encuentro! Meet Each Other!
Meet People in El Salvador (via Zoom) and Hear First-Hand Their Stories—and Stories from four Saint Mark’s Folks, too!

SATURDAY, JUNE 5, 2:30–4:30 P.M. via Zoom: email Canon Nancy Ross for link: nross@saintmarks.org

Meet people and hear first-hand their stories of living in El Salvador, and hear the personal stories from four Saint Mark’s community members, too, for mutual sharing, as we kick-off Pride Month together with an Encuentro (gathering to get to know each other). It’s a chance for us to learn more about the situation in El Salvador, where many members of the migrant community in U.S. come from, and to hear about the Diocese of El Salvador’s work to advance LGBTQ+ rights, as we celebrate individuals’ stories and share in solidarity with LGBTQ+ members. Saint Mark’s is a supporter of the Anglican Church of El Salvador’s Santa Marta Center project, to offer shelter and services for LQBTQ+ youth and young adults, many of whom have been kicked out of their homes or deported. The Anglican Church of El Salvador is one of the few open and affirming churches in a region that has historically been (and continues to be) very hostile to LGBTQ+ people. Let’s meet each other with gratitude for this chance to begin an ongoing relationship. Email Canon Nancy Ross for the link: nross@saintmarks.org.

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.