Minutes of the Special Meeting
of the Orinda Community Church
Sunday, March 26, 2017, After Worship
After today’s worship service, members of the congregation met in the sanctuary for a special meeting of the congregation which was requested and noticed in accordance with OCC Bylaws. Moderator Gail Mead called the meeting to order at 11:10 a.m.
Gail provided background for today’s meeting seeking to vote on the Immigrant Welcoming Church proposal. In 2016, the Northern California-Nevada Conference of the UCC voted to become an “Immigrant Welcoming Conference” and the UCC National Collaborative on Immigration called on all its members and congregations to become active “immigrant welcoming congregations and communities.”
Based on this, our church started looking at this issue. Mercy and Justice spearheads this effort and has worked hard this past year to pursue actions we can take to welcome immigrants. It hopes to put together an accompaniment team to help accompany, advocate, or research services that can meet immigrant needs (e.g., find housing, accompany them to appointments, register for school, etc.). Gail mentioned she was very proud of the church and what we’ve done. Becoming an immigrant welcoming congregation is a chance for us to live within our faith; a concrete way of showing our support for all individuals.
Today, we are not voting to be a sanctuary church or to harbor immigrants. We vote on whether to become an immigrant welcoming church. If we vote in favor of this, we will change our open and affirming statement to add the words “immigrant status.” The NCNC recommended people make this public change.
Gail asked if anyone wished to make a statement regarding the proposal. Vangie Abriel spoke in favor of the proposal. She mentioned there are people for whom home is no longer a viable place to stay. Fleeing and becoming an immigrant is better than remaining in a dangerous situation. It is part of our mission to welcome them.
We then voted and the resolution passed unanimously.
Gail adjourned the meeting at 11:20 a.m.