“Sanctuary Church” Holds Immigration Festival and Film Screening

HIGHLAND PARK — Members and friends of the Reformed Church of Highland Park will host a “Family Freedom Festival” this Saturday, May 19, to celebrate the contributions of immigrants to the community and to share how detention and deportation are breaking up families.

The church has been leading the headlines over the last few months for providing sanctuary to a group of persecuted Indonesian Christian immigrants fleeing deportation orders from ICE. The festival will feature cultural performances, ethnic foods and a screening of the documentary “Broken Asylum” by filmmaker Kelly Ann Bates.

“So much of our advocacy has involved a lot of footwork, phone calls, and sacrifice from our church and the Indonesians we serve – This festival is an opportunity to celebrate in ways that go behind the Indonesian community and recognize that broken immigration policy negatively impacts people from all over the world,” said Pastor Seth Kaper-Dale, a leader of the church.

Five Indonesian Christians are currently living inside the Reformed Church of Highland Park. They fled Indonesia in the late 1990s when religious violence broke out in the country. According to a recent Human Rights Watch report, violence against Christians still pervades the country. The Indonesians under RCHPs roof would like to apply for asylum and a bill that has bi-partisan sponsorship in the US House of Representatives would give them that opportunity. The bill has not yet passed though, and ICE has issued deportation orders to several members of the Indonesian community in New York and New Jersey.

The Family Freedom Festival will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 19 at the Reformed Church of Highland Park on 2nd Avenue in Highland Park. The new documentary about the church’s advocacy, “Asylum Broken” will screen at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free and members of the community are invited to attend.

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