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


Join us for a benefit concert by The Ephemeral Stringband at the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence on December 14, 2019,  at 7:30 p.m. (Doors open at 7:00 p.m.) 

Admission requires advance tickets. Tickets are available at USNF Social Hours (following 10 a.m. Sunday services) or at brownpaperticketsEvent Flyer

The Ephemeral Stringband is an old-time Appalachian stringband with early country harmonies. Learn more at www.ephemeralstringband.com.

Join us for "Sanctuary: Supporting Immigrants in Our Midst" at 2:30pm on Tuesday, November 19, 2019. The event will be held in the Mt. Tom Room at The Inn at Lathrop, 100 Bassett Brook Dr, Easthampton [map].

The program will include background on US immigration policy, pathways to citizenship, what’s changed since 2016 elections as well as how sanctuary is working at the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence (USNF).


  • Lucy Baruch (Lathrop resident and USNF Sanctuary Team member)
  • Lauren Burke (attorney)
  • Reverend Janet Bush (USNF minister)

Irida’s pierogies will be for sale ($10/dozen).

With gratitude to Lathrop’s Easthampton Residents’ Association for its donation to the USNF Sanctuary Fund in lieu of honoraria to the outside speakers.

Download flyer for more information

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.

On Friday, September 14, 2019 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

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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