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August 19, 2022

In the Sanctuary movement of the 1980s, American churches challenged the authority of the federal government by sheltering Central Americans who fled civil war and paramilitary death squads.

On August 18, PHS staff welcomed a number of individuals into a discussion about the Sanctuary movement. Speakers included Presbyterian Sanctuary workers Rev. John Fife and Mary Ann Lundy; Patty Barcelo, who fled Guatemala with her family as a child in the 1980s; and Amanda Craft, Manager of Immigration Advocacy at the Office of the General Assembly.

The group spoke about the power of the...

July 25, 2022

When United Presbyterian Women gathered at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana in the summer of 1985, Carol Weir thanked them for their support, and a delegation from the Soviet Union gifted them a painted icon. The crowd heard from speakers representing the Third World and from the nuclear disarmament movement. Of these women, the most remarkable women bearing witness at the event were those who had fled US-sponsored military and paramilitary violence in Nicaragua and El Salvador. The next-most remarkable were the women who helped shelter them here in the United States


April 19, 2022
Newspaper clippings during John Fife's conviction and trial.

Forty years ago, Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona, publicly declared itself a sanctuary for people fleeing war in Central America, defying U.S. immigration authorities, and challenging us all to love our neighbor.

After five hours of discussion at a congregation meeting in January 1982, the vote was called: 79-2 in favor. Southside would declare itself a sanctuary two years after the assassination of...

May 6, 2021

--by Lynn Coburn, elder at New Life Presbyterian Church (Albuquerque, N.M.)

In the 1970s New Life Presbyterian Church was founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico as a church without walls, enabling us to spend more of our resources on service. Another important tenant was pluralism. Those heady first years were full of mission work and respectful discussions. By the '80s we had grown tired of setting up the “tent” each Sunday morning and we had a building constructed. But the desire to be God...

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