Our moral duty

First Unitarian’s commitment to immigrants, refugees, and those in danger of being deported echoes the covenant of the Harvard Square Sanctuary Coalition:

“As a people of faith and conscience living in a time when the political and social climate of our nation has become increasingly hostile towards minority groups, we are mindful of our sacred calling and moral duty to welcome the stranger, protect the vulnerable, and accompany the oppressed.”

What is Sanctuary?

First U adopted the following Sanctuary resolution in 2017:

We the Congregation of First Unitarian Church of Providence, hereby commit to becoming a Sanctuary Congregation in order to provide onsite shelter and support for those at risk of deportation.

We commit to working with a coalition of interfaith partners, the UUA, social justice agencies, and other community organizations to oppose unjust Immigration laws.

Our Sanctuary commitment includes:

  • supporting our neighbors who are immigrants and refugees, regardless of their documentation status, in a manner they consider useful and worthwhile.
  • advocating for an end to unjust deportations at the local, state, and national level.
  • being part of a Sanctuary network that includes providing a living space to a person(s) at risk of deportation.


In November 2016, motivated by the national election, members of First U met to share ideas about how to confront hate in our community.

In December 2016, the Alliance to Mobilize Our Resistance RI (AMOR) asked First U to work as allies on Sanctuary.

In February 2017, First U hosted the Rhode Island State Council of Churches to discuss Sanctuary in RI.

In April 2017, First U held a vote and overwhelming supported becoming a Sanctuary Congregation.

In June 2018, First U dedicated a Sanctuary space.

Since June 2018, we have recruited and trained Sanctuary volunteers and continued building coalitions with other faith-based and community organizations. We have advocated and supported immigrants and refugees on the local, state, and national level. We provided Sanctuary to a family of four for two months.

Ongoing efforts

First U is committed to:

  • standing with and advocating for immigrants as loudly and clearly as possible.
  • continuing to build our volunteer base and offer relevant trainings.
  • continuing to develop alliances with other faith-based and community organizations to amplify our collective efforts and voices.
  • continuing to offer space and support to a person or family seeking Sanctuary.

Join us

Share your ideas, energy, questions, and concerns with us at: firstusanctuary@gmail.com

Participate in Sanctuary trainings and events.

Spread the word! We would love to work with others to create Sanctuary.

Get involved

As an individual, consider:

  • becoming a sanctuary host.
  • assisting with daily errands such as food, laundry, shopping, etc.
  • being an on-call translator; all languages are needed.
  • providing legal support if you are a lawyer.
  • providing medical and/or emotional support if you are a health or mental health professional.
  • joining our Rapid Response Team.
  • making a financial donation at firstunitarianprov.org and specify “Sanctuary”.

As a faith-based or community organization, consider:

  • becoming a part of the Sanctuary Coalition.
  • creating sanctuary space in your religious home.

Attend trainings:

  • sanctuary orientation training
  • nuts and bolts training
  • nonviolent direct-action training

Connect with us

Email us at firstusanctuary@gmail.com

Find us on Facebook: Side with Love First Unitarian Providence