FUSDEN First Unitarian Sanctuary History
Posted Date: Aug 23, 2017- 9:16am | Author:
In September 2014 the First Unitarian Society of Denver was approached by the Denver staff of the American Friends Society Committee and several other partners who were working on immigrant justice and was asked to become a host sanctuary in the New Sanctuary Movement. This request began a process of discernment at FUSD to educate the congregation about what it would mean to become a host community. Following numerous meetings, dialog, and the preparation of a suitable apartment in the basement, the congregation voted on 2015 to become a sanctuary church.
Since then FUSD has been a leader in the fight for immigrant rights in Denver. We have provided sanctuary for two immigrants facing deportation. In the summer of 2015 congregants and friends of First Unitarian created an apartment in the church building at 1400 Lafayette Street and provided furniture and supplies in anticipation that Jeanette Vizguerra, a mother and long time immigrant rights activist, would have to seek sanctuary.
However, when Jeanette received a stay of her deportation order until December 2016, First Unitarian offered sanctuary to Arturo Hernandez Garcia. He remained in sanctuary in the First Unitarian building from October 2015 until July 2016.
In May, 2017, both Arturo and Jeanette have two year stays of their deportation orders. They remain in Denver, due in large part to the efforts and support of First Unitarian, the staff of the American Friends Society Committee and legal efforts of several volunteer attorneys.