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Rev. Doug Long: Sanctuary — A Long Haul At Best


Every day at 5:30 p.m., Rev. Doug Long, Senior Minister of Umstead Park United Church of Christ (UPUCC), grabs his coat and walks to his car to head home for dinner with his wife. However, on the drive home he struggles to shake the persistent feeling of guilt from his day.

“I feel guilty every time I leave this church,” Long said. “I sit in my home and long for the time when I can invite Eliseo into that space and that he can truly be treated as an equal human being.”

Long has dedicated his life to advocating for marginalized people like Eliseo, who has lived in sanctuary at UPUCC for the past year to avoid being deported to Mexico after the stay of his initial removal order was suddenly denied.

“In the sanctuary movement right now in North Carolina, there are more congregations coming on board and voting to offer safe spaces for undocumented immigrants,” Long said. “This is a long haul at best.”

Rev. Long has gone to great lengths to make Eliseo feel comfortable in the sanctuary – from creating a living space to making sure Eliseo’s family spends time with him. Long believes he has a moral duty to serve communities who have continuously become more threatened by the divisive and hateful rhetoric spewed from the political atmosphere in our country.

Long says the sanctuary effort would be unsustainable without the support and love of the Jewish and Christian congregations in the area who have volunteered their time.

“We would all lay down in the road for Eliseo and his family,” Long proudly said. “It’s part of our faith to stand with the marginalized.”

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