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Why Sanctuary at Saint Mark's?

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

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. 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 and community hub in Seattle, with Saint Mark’s Safe Space a place for building relationship and a harbor in times of trouble – and Casa Latina a teacher and gatherer for Saint Mark’s to share in their efforts supporting families and promoting policies. And we stand as Sanctuary because we are all equally beloved of God. For nearly three years, our dear friend Jaime Rubio lived in Sanctuary at Saint Mark’s Cathedral as he sought a legal remedy to keep his family together in the midst our nation’s unjust legal tangle and the restriction to liberty it entails. He was finally able to leave the cathedral campus at the beginning of 2022 when his case was reopened. (Read more about his story here, or watch a video of Jaime telling his story in his own words here.)

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

The best way to stay informed and active is to be on the mailing lists of the organizations who are at the forefront. These local groups include work on both direct service and policy change:

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.

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project promotes justice by defending and advancing the rights of immigrants through direct legal services, systemic advocacy, and community education.

El Centro de la Raza strives to use social, cultural, educational, economic and civic activities as vehicles to bring together peoples of all races and refuses to separate our nation’s economic model form the historic tragedy of racism, poverty, and war.

Faith Action Network (FAN) is an interfaith statewide partnership striving for a just, compassionate, and sustainable world through community building, education, and courageous public action. Their legislative agenda and action includes protecting immigrant families in our state.


Organizations in relationship at the Border at Brownsville, TX / Matamoros, Mexico:

Team Brownsville: https://www.teambrownsville.org/

Angry Tias & Abuelas of the Rio Grande Valley: https://www.angrytiasandabuelas.com/mission-index-impact

Catholic Charities Respite Center - McAllen, TX: https://www.catholiccharitiesrgv.org/HumanitarianRespiteCenter.shtml


...in El Paso / Ciudad Juárez:

Annunciation House: https://annunciationhouse.org/

Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center: https://las-americas.org/


Want to know more? Read:

Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas

Separated: Inside an American Tragedy by Jacob Soboroff


Sanctuary Updates from Saint Mark's

Afghan Refugees Arrive in Seattle—Ways to Help
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UPDATE, FEBRUARY 16, 2023 The Popals have now moved to their new apartment in the Shoreline area! They are excited about the location, as it’s just 3 minutes away from friends, plus they’ve already met another Afghan family in the building (with a boy Mustafa’s age!) also newly settling in. They moved off the Saint Mark’s Cathedral campus on Tuesday of last week, and express their sincerest thanks for the warm welcome and many gifts and thoughtful donations received as … Read More

Sanctuary Stories from the Rubric
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Here is a selection of stories published in The Rubric during the three years, 2019–2022, when Jaime Rubio and his family lived on the cathedral grounds as our guest in Sanctuary. Click on each image to enlarge. You may watch a video of Jaime telling his story in his own words here.

2022 Report from El Salvador by Elizabeth Hawkins
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UPDATED WITH VIDEO WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 6:45–8:15 P.M., in person in Bloedel Hall and online via Zoom. Optional community dinner at 6 p.m. ($6/child; $8/adult; $25/max. family). Saint Mark’s parishioner Elizabeth Hawkins has been living and working in San Salvador since 2019. A former immigration attorney, she travelled to El Salvador to research the complex factors that lead people to attempt to emigrate to the United States. She will give us an update about the current situation in El Salvador. Elizabeth … Read More

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 … Read More

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 … Read More

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 … Read More

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 … Read More

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 … Read More

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 … Read More

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.

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 … Read More

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 … Read More