Church as Sanctuary: Reconstituting the Religious Tradition of Refuge in an Age of Forced Displacement
By: Leo Guardado
“This book brings hope for understanding the church as a site of refuge, healing, holiness, and salvation grounded in the best theological and ministerial traditions of church as sanctuary, a relevant response to today's times.” –Maria Pilar Aquino, professor emerita of theology and religious studies, University of San Diego
“A must read for all who dream of church renewal because they hunger and thirst for God’s justice.” –Edgardo A. Colón-Emeric, dean, Duke Divinity School
“A sustained reflection for shaping a contemporary theology of sanctuary to enable delivery of good news to the bad news situation of displaced human beings. Absolutely triumphant!” – Harold J. Recinos, professor, Southern Methodist University
"An ecclesiology of liberation for US Christians and anyone who is wondering about what it means to be a people of God in our context. . . . Guardado challenges US Christians to be church by accompanying those whose humanity is threatened—no matter what the costs may be.” –Tisha Rajendra, associate professor, Loyola University Chicago
“A deeply theological look at all the beauty and contradictions of the Sanctuary movement in the 1980s. With writing that is clear, beautiful, lyrical, and moving, Guardado challenges us all to recognize the prophetic role of the church in human history.” –Felipe Hinojosa, Jackson Family Chair for Baylor in Latin America, Baylor University
“A nuanced and profoundly moving book that ponders the sacramental nature of the Church to remember, rethink, and rebuild the practice of sanctuary in the US and beyond.” –Victor Carmona, PhD, University of San Diego
“Provides rich theological insights to today’s church life and faith-based organizing through the lenses of civil initiative rooted in nonviolence where truth and liberation are searched for in a community that converts to communion via sanctuary.” –Yara Gonzalez-Justiano, assistant professor, Vanderbilt University
“A compelling and necessary reading of the signs of the times.” –Filipe Maia, assistant professor, Boston University School of Theology
“A must-read for theologians and others who understand the Church as necessarily sanctuary– not merely as a holy site but as a defying space and force that save the lives of the displaced and persecuted.” –Orlando Espin, emeritus professor of theology, University of San Diego
No study has yet examined the tradition of sanctuary as the starting point for rethinking the church in an age of global displacement. Church as Sanctuary, argues that if church sanctuary is going to be legible as a pillar of ecclesial existence in modernity, then we need a theology of sanctuary that reconstitutes this rich tradition anew, placing it at the service of a displaced world. By its very nature, church sanctuary is and has always served as a creative ecclesial and sacramental response to persons whose life is threatened by generalized or state violence, and in our contemporary society the church’s rejection of its own tradition places at risk other forms of sanctuary that exist in symbolic relation to the church’s historical practice.
Leo Guardado is assistant professor, the department of theology, Fordham University. The Salvadoran Civil War forced Guardado and his mother to migrate to Los Angeles, CA, where he grew up from the age of nine.
Cover design: Michael Calvente
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