Reverend Joann

Statement from Session regarding Sanctuary Congregation, March 2018

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27


Dear Calvary Members and Friends,

The Session met Tuesday night, March 6, to discuss and vote on a motion regarding whether Calvary should become a Sanctuary church. The decision was not an easy one nor was it unanimous. We thoroughly debated the topic at length where all sides were heard and represented by members of Session. It is important to understand that while not every Elder was in support of the motion, everyone was in support of the precepts and activities involved. In the end, God led Session to pass the following motion:

The Faith in Action Team moves that Calvary declares itself a Sanctuary Congregation and as such, will provide accompaniment, advocacy, and rapid response for immigrants. We also proudly announce this to others in San Francisco and beyond as our understanding of how we are called to be a faithful witness and stand with others from communities who have declared sanctuary.

What does declaring Sanctuary mean?

  • We will not provide housing at Calvary.
  • There will be no additional fiscal impact – any financial support will come from money that is already budgeted for international missions activities by the Faith in Action Team.
  • The ministry is volunteer driven, and no one at Calvary is forced to participate.
  • We will join a Sanctuary network to help provide assistance to undocumented immigrants.
  • We will provide mostly emotional and spiritual support to those who have been stripped of human dignity and respect.

We acknowledge that the term “sanctuary” has incurred a negative connotation associated with being anti-law and order. Session defines “sanctuary” as standing by those who have been stripped of human dignity and respect. We’re making this formal declaration to support those who are being subjected to unjust processes.

We will host a table after the congregational meeting this Sunday to address any concerns or questions you may have. We also plan to host a forum in April to discuss our discernment process. We look forward to this opportunity to serve humankind, and invite your support as we follow God’s call for Calvary.

For any immediate feedback to Session, please email

On behalf of Session and together in Christ,

Scott Nagelson                                                                Stephanie Gee
Chair, Faith in Action Team                                         Elder, International Mission


For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.  Matthew 25:35


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