A civilization of love that did not demand justice of people would not be a true civilization, it would not delineate genuine human relations. It is a caricature of love to try to cover over with alms what is lacking in justice, to patch up with an appearance of benevolence when social justice is missing.
–– Oscar Romero (1935-1982), “A Just Society.”
True love begins by demanding what is just in the relations of those who love Wellington Avenue Church has a long history of involvement in social justice issues on the state, national and international levels. Over the past 40 years, Wellington has offered a place of refuge for a wide variety of folk: Cuban, Chilean, Vietnamese, and South African exiles, conscience objectors, Good Shepherd Metropolitan Community Church, and Roman Catholic women gathered to protest the absence of dialogue within their communion. In the 1970s Wellington’s ministry was focused locally on helping member, James Harper, to establish an Uptown center for alcoholics (now known as Harper House).
Internationally, the congregation’s attention turned to the victims and survivors of human rights abuses in southern Africa and Central America. Through Collins Ramusi, a South African exile, Wellington established a sister church relationship with a Labowa Homeland congregation, and later sent a representative to help in registering people to cast their first-ever vote on that homeland for their first elections in southern Africa and Central America. In the early 80s Wellington was challenged to become the final station on an Underground Railroad that was being put in place to bring El Salvadoran refugees to Chicago. After faithful consideration and weighing the cost, the congregation declared itself a Public Sanctuary in 1984, the second in the nation to do so. Through all these people and events, Wellington has not only been challenged to grow, but has been deeply blessed by the people we have come to know and love.
Below are some of the public statements and resolutions Wellington as made as a community of faith regarding social justice issues that influence our faith and practices.
Statement and Resolutions
- Resolution to Declare Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ a Sanctuary Church and Member of the New Sanctuary Movement adopted January 27, 2008
- Statement in Opposition to and Denouncement of Violence, War, and Any Form of State Sanctioned Violence and Death And Resolution to Encourage, Support and Develop Peace Studies, Non-violence Training adopted June 20, 2004
- Support Colombians at Risk by Providing Sanctuary adopted September 7, 2003
- Emergency Resolution RE: Death Penalty Moratorium adopted May 13, 1998
- Resolution Concerning Police Accountability adopted May 13, 1998
- Resolution on Health Care Reform from Christian Visions Group adopted June 14, 1992
- Resolution on the War in the Persian Gulf adopted January 21, 1991
- Resolution on Police Torture in Chicago adopted June 24, 1990
- Resolution in Support of The National Pilgrimage for Peace in El Salvador and for the Civil and Human Rights of Salvadoran Refugees adopted in 1989
- Resolution Concerning the Immigration Reform and control act of 1986 adopted January 31, 1988
- Resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict adopted February 23, 1987
- Covenant of Openness and Affirmation adopted in 1985
- Resolution on the Danger of Nuclear Weapons adopted in 1979
- Inclusive Language Motion adopted in 1978
- Resolution on Vietnam adopted in 1967