Last week, the ELCA Churchwide assembly declared the ELCA a sanctuary church body. Below, Bishop Elizabeth Eaton shares a message on what this means for our church.



Dear siblings in Christ,

As many of you know, last week the ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted a resolution that, among other things, declared the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) a sanctuary denomination. Many of you are asking, “What does this mean?”


Our call to love our neighbor is central to our faith. In our baptismal covenant we promise to strive for peace and justice in all the world. One of the ways we live out this vow is through our commitment to welcoming the stranger. With this declaration, we publicly state that walking alongside refugees and immigrants is a matter of faith.


We have prepared talking points to provide a better understanding and further clarification on what sanctuary means for you and your congregations. We acknowledge this will look different in different contexts across the ELCA.


We also hope this resource will help guide conversations with your parishioners and your community about what our faith says about immigration.


“Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you,
for the glory of God” (Romans 15:7).


In Christ,

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop

Be a part of the response:


Continue to pray for migrant children and families.


Thanks to generous, undesignated donations, Lutheran Disaster Response can respond quickly and effectively to disasters around the globe. Your gifts to Lutheran Disaster Response will be used where there is the greatest need.


To learn more about global migration and what Lutheran Disaster Response is doing: