ITHACA, N.Y.(WENY)-- Sunday, May 5th, the First  Congregational Church of Ithaca voted and declared themselves a sanctuary. 

"This is a way that we publicly declare our extravagant welcome. That no matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you're welcome here," says Reverend Doctor David Kaden, Senior Minister of the FCC of Ithaca. 

Reverend Kaden was overjoyed to announce his church is officially being declared as a sanctuary, and a large portion of his congregation had a similar reaction.

"This is tremendously important for our community. This is, we believe a full enactment and realization of our mission as a church to help those most in need and to extend our belief in extravagant welcome to the utmost kind of welcome that can be extended," says Andy Weislogel, Church Council President at the FCC of Ithaca. 

There were many questions and concerns voiced at Thursday mornings meeting, especially about the legalities of the declaration.

"When a faith community establishes their own building as a sanctuary there is, there are literally thousands of years of spiritual law and legal precedent that says that this is a place that government officials will not violate to seize someone," says Michael Smith, Coordinator of the Ithaca Sanctuary Alliance. 

Officials with the church told WENY News no matter who you are, you should always have a place to feel safe and accepted in your community.

"Regardless of their immigration status. Documented, Undocumented, under documented, if they're in need, this is a way for me personally and for our church more broadly to live into our faiths statement of being followers of Christ and helping people who are hurting," says Kaden. 

Another question that was asked at the conference on Thursday morning was regarding funding. Mr.Weislogel explained that because this is so new, there is no separate budgetary line. He told WENY News that the church is reaching out to their community partners and anyone who is interested in helping support them financially for the needs that they would have for becoming a sanctuary. For more about FCC, click here.