Largest US Lutheran denomination becomes first 'sanctuary church body'

Largest US Lutheran denomination becomes first 'sanctuary church body'
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The largest U.S. Lutheran denomination announced this week that it would become a "sanctuary church." 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) said in a statement Wednesday that it is "committed to work toward just and humane policies affecting migrants in and outside the U.S." 

The ELCA is the first North American denomination to become a sanctuary church body, according to the statement.

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According to CNN, besides sheltering undocumented immigrants, the church will also respond to raids, fight deportation cases and give "radical hospitality" to immigrants. 

The ELCA will also work on resources for the denomination's more than 9,000 congregations "to help them explore and develop sanctuary ministries," the news network reported, citing church officials.

“It just keeps getting worse and worse in terms of unaccompanied children, separated families, detention centers that are just horrific, and so what we wanted to say as a church body, as the Lutheran church, we wanted to now act with our feet and take action,” Evelyn Soto Straw, director of unit operations and programs for the ELCA’s Domestic Mission, told Religion News Service

ELCA's presiding bishop, the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, on Wednesday participated in a march and prayer vigil at the Milwaukee Immigration and Customs Enforcement office.