On August 30, 2018, two members of Heritage UU Church attended the Dedication and Blessing of the Sanctuary Space at Clifton United Methodist Church (UMC). This space is being added to expand the capabilities of the Cincinnati Sanctuary Congregation Coalition, of which Heritage Church is a supporting member.
The Coalition exists to help a person or family take sanctuary in a place of worship, in order to avoid deportation. The Coalition’s criteria are that the person or family must have a case pending with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), must be at risk of being deported before their case is heard, and must be willing to be public about taking sanctuary.
To create the needed living space for sanctuary, Clifton UMC has contracted with a “second chance” contractor to do the remodeling for $18,000. A “second chance” contractor works with ex-offenders (often people who have completed a prison sentence). These workers are not always efficient, so the work takes longer. Clifton UMC had expected the work to be done by now, but it is not completed.
The living space is on two levels. The kitchen is upstairs, and not directly connected to the rest of the living space, but is separate from the church kitchen. This was required by code.
The future residents have a “private entrance” where they can receive visitors without coming through the main church and hallways.
The primary living space is in the basement. The church has two large rooms, with new weather efficient windows. One room is expected to be daytime living space, and the other will be the sleeping rooms. There is a small laundry area attached to the sleeping area. The bathroom is split, with the shower in one space and the sink and toilet in another.
Clifton UMC needs volunteers to finish and decorate the space—window treatments, paint and wall coverings. They are hoping different churches will sponsor this part. Eventually, they will need furniture, but they don’t want the furniture until the renovations are complete.
At the celebration, the space dedication was lovely and there was a lot of enthusiasm among the visitors and guests.
Pictures from the event are shown below.