Evangelical Lutheran Church in America named country's first 'sanctuary denomination', what locals are saying

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MOORHEAD, Minn. (Valley News Live) -- A Minnesota church is now the nation's first 'sanctuary denomination.'
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is now committing itself to support and shelter migrants entering the country.

Valley News Live drove to the closest ELCA church in Moorhead to see how people in the community are reacting.

On August 7th, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America made it clear that walking alongside immigrants and refugees is a matter of faith.

"I think it's wonderful," said Lois Balko from Moorhead. "I think the church as a whole has to change and adapt to society."

"I think it's exciting," said Mara Morken from Moorhead. "I think that it's religious people doing Jesus' teaching. The idea of welcoming people from other places and taking care of each other."

Minnesota has the largest number of ELCA members. That's 670,000 of the 3.3 million nationally.

The ELCA says that the United States has a broken system when it comes to immigration. They say being a sanctuary body means giving resources to the ones who need it.

The ELCA says this could mean providing shelter for people to live, and/or lending financial and legal support people working through the immigration system.

But not everyone is on board with the idea. Some were commenting on the ELCA's Facebook post saying the church is supporting illegal immigration.

One man commented that he doesn't want to leave ELCA, but he feels like the ELCA is leaving him.

Others that live by the church in Moorhead are indifferent, saying there's not much more they can do now.

"I mean the churches can do what they think is right and the senate has determined that this is the way to go and I don't see any reason to argue with it," said a Moorhead resident that didn't want to go on camera.

ELCA churches have a mission of helping people moving into our county; however, not all locations are required to house them.

We were not able to confirm if Moorhead's church plans to provide shelter.