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Commissioners Resolution: on Affirming Principles of Sanctuary in Response to the Global Escalation in the Number of Displaced Person/Refugees


Given the current crisis for Syrian refugees in Europe and Central American children and youth fleeing the economic desperation and gang violence in their home countries, churches in Germany, the Arizona borderlands and the New York Metro have extended an urgent call to churches to affirm these basic principles of Sanctuary in responding to the needs of refugees and displaced persons.


Recognizing the immediacy of this concern,


The 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA):


Expresses our deep concern for the well-being of the refugee children, families and all migrants currently arriving at our borders, as well as those struggling to live within our borders. In response to the increased numbers of people around the world who are being forced to leave their home countries, and the simultaneous increase in punitive enforcement in many receiving countries, we affirm the following principles to guide and inspire our efforts to respond:


  • Compassionate Response: We care deeply about these refugee children, families and all migrants, and we urge our countries to have open arms to protect them and preserve their human dignity. We reject detention of migrants as a violation of human rights and dignity.
  • Due Process: We advocate for fair and timely legal proceedings, competent legal representation, and due process for children, asylum seekers, and all migrants.
  • Family Unity: We uphold and respect the unity of families as a basic human right.
  • Restorative Justice: We desire revitalization and healing of our borderlands, not militarization. The only long-term solution is a holistic approach that prioritizes safety and opportunity for these migrants and addresses root causes.
  • Civil Initiative: As long as our governments are not adequately addressing these humanitarian crises, citizens have the right and responsibility to respond with an approach that follows the mandate to provide sanctuary when needed and, above all, to love our neighbors.


Based on these principles,


  1. We covenant to work together for just and humane response to all migrants both at our borders and within our countries.
  2. We direct the Stated Clerk to notify the President of the United States, the office of the Attorney General, and the Department of Homeland Security of our commitment to these fundamental principals and our commitment as a church to support efforts to welcome refugees, and of our particular concern for refugees from Syria and Central America at this moment in time.
  3. We call on the Stated Clerk to share these principle with ecumenical and interfaith partners and to actively seek opportunities for collaboration with those partners.
  4. We direct the Stated Clerk to work with the grassroots movement of Presbyterians who are working on these matters to interpret this opportunity for ministry through our mid-councils.




___________________________________                       ________________________________________

Commissioner, 222nd General Assembly                  Commissioner, 222nd General Assembly


Presbytery: _________________________             Presbytery: ______________________________

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