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Bishop Glasspool Writes on Sanctuary

A Follow-Up to Bishop Dietsche’s Letter On Sanctuary

April 12, 2017
Holy Wednesday

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This letter is a follow-up to Bishop Dietsche’s excellent letter On Sanctuary that was released Monday. The purpose of this letter is primarily to provide online links to websites and organizations – including our own congregations – already engaged in a wide variety of ministries under the huge umbrella of sanctuary. It is neither exhaustive nor comprehensive. Rather, it is intended as another small step in the many steps we are taking to open doors, alleviate fears, provide safety and hospitality, and live into the life-giving Gospel of Jesus of Nazareth.

All of the links in this letter will continue to be available on our own Diocesan website, so connecting there is a good place to start! In addition, as Bishop Dietsche wrote in his letter, both Trinity Church, Wall Street and Rural and Migrant Ministry are continuing to offer valuable educational opportunities and networking connections so that efforts have maximum effect.

In my own research, I have found the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to be of tremendous help. They have an online shop at which you can order wallet-size “Know your Rights” cards that contain much valuable information and are produced in a multitude of different languages. In addition, here are some FAQs about Sanctuary Congregations published by the ACLU.

Here is a link to faith-based website Sanctuary Not Deportation, which has some very good educational materials, including this Rapid Response Toolkit (It’s a four-page document).

This is the proverbial scratching of the surface. I am so very much aware that there is much more already published and ongoing work being done, including that which many of you are doing! Let me simply offer a few of my own thoughts if you are considering what (or if) to do something.

  • Do it together! If you are a Rector, talk it over with your Vestry. If a parishioner – get a group of people together. Network.
  • Learn as much as you can before engaging.
  • Sometimes a smaller step is better. A parish in another diocese went through a very public process of declaring itself a Sanctuary Church, and when it finally happened, to local media acclaim, it became the last place that local immigrants wanted to go, even to worship, because they figured the church was now well known to ICE.
  • There are so many different activities which can be engaged: walking children to school; shopping for food and groceries so people do not have to expose themselves to confrontation; holding discussion groups, seminars, and educational programs; preaching about these issues in the context of the Gospel.

Please know that the bishops of the Diocese of New York support and pray for you all daily, and are also honored to be of help. We stand with you as together we reconcile the world to God.




The Rt. Rev. Mary D. Glasspool
Assistant Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of New York


What is Sanctuary (prepared by the Cathedral Congregation of Saint Saviour)

Trinity Wall Street Undocumented Resources


Rural and Migrant Ministries

Rural & Migrant Ministry Menu of Hope (pdf)

ACLU Sanctuary Pages and Resources

ACLU Shop (for Know Your Rights Cards and more)

ACLU Sanctuary Congregations FAQ

Sanctuary not Deportation (a faith-based website with excellent materials)

Rapid Response Toolkit document (from Sanctuary not Deportation - see above)

 Episcopal Church expands its stand with refugees, immigrants and the undocumented (ENS, Feb 1, 2017)