Almost three years ago, the Central Pacific Conference (CPC) declared itself an Immigrant Welcoming Conference and encouraged local congregations to join it. In 2017, the UCC nationally formally adopted an IWC resolution paralleling the conference’s. Today, there are about a dozen UCC congregations in the CPC who have formally declared themselves Immigrant Welcoming or Sanctuary churches.
On January 2019, First Congregational United Church of Christ - Portland members unanimously approved to adopt an Immigrant Welcoming Congregation declaration.
By becoming an Immigrant Welcoming Congregation, we are committing to build relationships across barriers, educate ourselves, advocate for human rights and accompany our immigrant neighbors in times of need,
While our work is just beginning, we’ve already accomplished much. For example, we have:
• Hosted church and conference meetings to hear immigrant stories and learn about Immigrant Welcoming. We are working to formalize a network of UCC Immigrant Welcoming Congregations.
• Hosted members of the Sheridan to The Dalles caravan for dinner and overnight.
• Hosted the 2018 election night party for the “No on 105” campaign.
• Attended vigils at Sheridan Federal Prison, ICE holding center in SW Portland, NORCOR in The Dalles, the ICE Regional Detention Facility in Tacoma, and the Washington County Courthouse.
• Visited the SW border near Tucson in late 2015 for firsthand information about the plights of those crossing the border and supporting humanitarian aid providers.
• Attended Advocacy Day at the Oregon State Capitol with the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice (IMIrJ).
• Hosted exhibits and a reception celebrating Iranian art, music, poetry, and calligraphy.
• Supported a campaign to distribute LifeStraws to migrants crossing the desert with financial assistance.
As part of our church’s Peacemaking ministry, we invite old and new members, friends, and families to join us in making immigrants welcome at Portland First Congregational and in the community.