On Friday April 6th Irida Kakhtiranova – a western Massachusetts wife to a U.S. citizen and mother of three U.S. citizen children – entered into sanctuary at the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence. The Unitarian Society, in collaboration with the Pioneer Valley Workers Center, is supporting Irida, a restaurant worker and sole wage earner in her family. Irida came to the United States from her native Russia in 2003 and now faces deportation. She has requested sanctuary while she fights her deportation case. A press conference will be held on Tuesday, April 10 at the Unitarian Society, 220 Main Street, at 2PM.

The Society’s decision to offer sanctuary followed a Dec. 10 congregational vote that approved a resolution declaring its willingness to offer physical sanctuary to someone in need. The vote came after a three-month discernment process during which members attended listening circles and information sessions held to educate the membership on what it means to become a sanctuary congregation. At the congregational meeting, there was robust and respectful discussion, after which the members present approved the resolution with an 89 percent margin.

During the discernment process, members determined that they felt called by our faith, mission, values and principles to take this step. Members expressed their belief that it is imperative to resist the persecution and deportation of immigrants that are currently tearing up families all over the country. Houses of worship historically have played a role in providing sanctuary to those in need.

Contacts: Rev. Janet Bush 413-584-1390; Laurie Loisel, Congregation President 413-374-7604


Accompaniment Volunteer Trainings

2nd Tuesday of the Month @ 6 PM*
* Minimum number of participants required

Group Trainings - Arrangements can be made for groups of people who would like to go through the training together.  Contact us to set up a day and time.


Trainings generally last 1.5 hours.  A minimum number of participants is required.  Please RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Please use the side door to enter the Unitarian Society.

Experience Reiki, a Japanese Healing Art, and support the Sanctuary Fund on Wednesday, September 26.
Organized by new USNF member and Reiki master teacher Ginny Hamilton, Reiki practitioners are volunteering their time to raise funds for the USNF Sanctuary Fund.
Practitioners will offer 30 minute sessions for a suggested donation of $30.

Wednesday, September 26
Two sessions: 6:30 and 7:15
Location:  USNF Parlor

Click here to book your session using Signup Genius

Download the flyer here.

On Friday, September 7 there will be a Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser.  Come enjoy salad, pasta, beverage and dessert for support & legal assistance for Irida.

Two seatings: 5:00 - 6:30 and 6:30 - 8:00
Advance ticket purchases only:  $15 adults   *   $8 kids under 10    *  $40 family of 4
Tickets on sale Sundays from 11:00-11:30 in the UU Parlor or by arrangement : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Download flyer for more information

On June 9, a fundraiser will be held at Gateway City Arts to benefit Irida Kakhtiranova. The event will feature performances by The Greys, Humble Digs, Farmhouse, Mantis Toboggan, Wishbone Zoë, Emma June, Emily Parasiliti, and Hannah Rose.In addition, there will be poetry, a coloring station, and raffles! Please invite your friends and share if you are able to, this is an important cause and the more community involvement the better! If you would like your business card/zine/etc. to be on display, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Doors open 5:30 PM - Event begins at 6 PM
$10 (with the option to donate more)
Gateway City Arts
92 Race St., Holyoke
More information

A press conference was held at the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, to answer questions about our decision to offer sanctuary to an individual at risk of deportation. News coverage relating to sanctuary issues can be found on our Sanctuary Media Coverage page. 

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