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Columbus Church Welcomed Honduran Family Seeking Asylum


July 22, 2019


Michelle Nealy, mnealy@faithinpubliclife.org, (202) 735-7123
Dan Clark, dclark@faithinpubliclife.org, (614) 648-3663

Columbus Church Welcomed Honduran Family Seeking Asylum

Columbus, Ohio — On Sunday, July 21st at 2 p.m., faith leaders and community members  welcomed a Honduran family to Just North United Church of Christ where they will wait together as they seek asylum. 

Maria, Juan and their two small children faced credible death threats in Honduras and were forced to flee, leaving behind everything they loved. The church and family have chosen to use pseudonyms for the reasons of safety and privacy. 

Rev. Eric Williams, Just North United Church of Christ:

“We need to refocus our vision, we need to restore our virtue, we need to open our communities, we need to strengthen our commitments. We need to find our way – together. This ministry reflects the heart of our faith. This action embodies the heart of our American values – we are a nation of immigrants. And we all treasure our children and family life above everything. Wherever you are born and wherever you settle, family is a universal human value. The presence of this family in our lives brings us together, here, today. This family is what connects us as a human family.”

Councilmember Emmanuel Remy, Columbus City Council:

“I can’t tell you the disappointment I hear on a day in and day out basis as it relates to immigrants, refugees, and new Americans as they are trying to make a life in this country. I’m disgusted when we hear chants like ‘Send them back.’ That is not what this country is made of. This is not what this country is founded on. We are a nation built on immigrants and residents that have come here because they are escaping persecution. We are a melting pot and everyone deserves to be here. I am very pleased to represent a city like the city of Columbus. One that is welcoming and diverse, vibrant as any city in America. On behalf of this city we welcome this family, and we welcome all that want to make Columbus their home.”

Dawn Leach, Just North UCC Immigration Justice Team:

“This is a couple who loves their children. They want a place where their kids can be safe and grow up. They want to work and be a part of the community. I would feel lucky to have these people as my neighbor. I would love to have them living in my neighborhood with me. We would all be lucky to have them as part of our community. I pray they get the chance.”

Jackie Kifuko, Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS):

“There is absolutely no one in their right sense of mind who would decide to leave their native country, where they are well established, with families, friends, jobs, etc to go to another country where they barely know anyone, worse still not even knowing the language, unless there is a life-threatening situation. Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. America is better than what we see today.’”

Rev. Sally Padgett, First English Lutheran Church, where Miriam Vargas is living in sanctuary:

“I am here today as a faith leader, to stand beside Just North Church as they welcome a new family into their community. A family of immigrants seeking asylum who are new to our country.  Welcoming the stranger as Just North Church is doing takes courage and a conviction of faith – so I am here to stand with them in any way I can.”

Rev. Joel Miller, Columbus Mennonite Church, where Edith Espinal is living in sanctuary:

“Today we are standing together in welcoming another family of weary travelers. We welcome them into this church, this place of love and shelter, and into this city.  We welcome them as we would welcome God among us. Today we affirm that in the face of escalating cruelty toward our migrant neighbors, we choose compassion, we choose keeping families together, we choose hospitality, we choose neighborliness, we choose human connection, we choose protecting vulnerable persons, we choose welcome.”


Faith in Public Life is a national network of over 50,000 clergy and faith leaders united in the prophetic pursuit of justice and the common good.

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