Sanctuary from RadioWest on Vimeo.


What is Sanctuary?

Sanctuary is the practice of allowing someone to take refuge in a house of worship in order to avoid persecution or injustice. Sanctuary has been practiced in various forms for centuries, including the early days of Israel, ancient Greece and Rome, and Medieval Europe.

In recent decades, Sanctuary has become a powerful tool in the fight for immigrant rights. Congregations open their doors to people who are slated for deportation. While living inside this sacred space, undocumented people amplify their message and gain more time to seek justice with the community’s support.


We need your help

The Sanctuary is run entirely by volunteers. Our fight to prevent the senseless deportation of Utah families is only possible because of hundreds of people acting in solidarity. A house of worship or other facility deemed a “Sanctuary” can only offer meaningful refuge and safety with the public’s full attention and vibrant participation. 

If you are passionate about keeping families together, we welcome your time and talents.

Hosting Sanctuary guests requires a 24/7 volunteer presence. Thus, our most significant need is for volunteer hosts – those who can provide witness & presence at a Sanctuary facility for a shift. Here’s what you need to know:

  • A host’s primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of our guests, while respecting their autonomy.
  • Hosts set their own schedule! Using a smartphone app, sign up for shifts that are four to five hours or sleep overnight for up to 11 hours. 
  • Hosts’ tasks may include managing access to the Sanctuary building and supporting Sanctuary guests in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can anybody become a Sanctuary volunteer?

Yes, but we do have a few basic requirements.

  • You must be 18 years of age or older, or be accompanied by a volunteer who is 18 years of age.
  • You must be willing to receive training.
  • If your volunteer work consists of actively staffing Sanctuary, you should pass a background check as a child abuse prevention measure (we only check for issues related to child safety).
  • And above all, you must be in solidarity with people facing deportation
  • All Hosts receive thorough training.
How many hours of volunteer work will I be expected to perform?

As many hours or as few as you like; we understand your time and energy are valuable, and we know that people’s ability to contribute to this cause will ebb and flow. We try to make it easy to schedule yourself, and even to swap shifts you’ve scheduled but are unable to work.


Sanctuary Volunteer Sign-Up

Sign up right here to volunteer. By providing your contact information and answering a few short questions, you'll join the volunteer force that makes Sanctuary at First Unitarian Church possible. All information provided is confidential, and will never be shared with anyone outside of the Sanctuary Network. After submitting this form, someone from First Unitarian Sanctuary will contact you to get you started as an active volunteer!