The word conjures mental images: stained glass, wooden seats, an organ. It’s a church word. The space where Christians worship is called a sanctuary.
When I show up at a church building on a Sunday morning, the question I’m most ready to ask is “Where is the sanctuary?”
But being in a sanctuary is different than finding sanctuary. The challenge for today, though, is that fewer and fewer people want to know where the sanctuary is. More and more, people want to know if they can actually have sanctuary.
What happens when open hearts celebrate diversity and the value of all people? Rocio Martinez can tell you. Living in Nashville, Tennessee, she had no immigration status and was about to have her first child. She visited a church that offered a summer English as a second-language (ESL) class. These classes could help her take a step forward as she continued her efforts to become a legal citizen.
She could not believe that a group of people who did not even know her would invest their time to help her. “Why are these people teaching English?” she wondered. “Who pays them?”
The recent surge in child migrants is attributed to a combination of factors, such as entrenched poverty that makes it difficult for large numbers of young people who are entering the workforce to find jobs, and powerful armed criminal groups that are targeting children who are especially vulnerable to physical harm and manipulation to carry out illicit activities.