About New Immigrants & Emerging Ministries
Mission and History
New Immigrants & Emerging Ministries provides the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) with resources aimed at facilitating entry of new immigrants groups into the life of the denomination. It was organized in 1999, one year after the General Assembly’s approval of the “Racial Ethnic and Immigrant Church Growth Strategy.”
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The challenge is to intentionally facilitate communications and resources to assist middle governing bodies to reach out to and to welcome those Christian immigrant groups. At this time, the office only works with groups from the countries of Africa, South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh), Brazil and English and French Caribbean. In the same goal area, Latino, Asian, Korean and Middle Eastern Congregational Enhancement offices serve their other respective international groups.
Models accepted by presbyteries
- Self-Forming Group: community of people who have come to the United States from the same country or region of the world with a common language, ethnicity and/or culture. They usually have a membership of fewer than 20 adults who do not hold PC(USA) membership.
- Fellowship/Bible Study Group: an international group of Christian people who are accepted by a presbytery as part of their evangelistic outreach ministry. Usually, they have a membership of 21 to 75 adults but not yet PC(USA) members.
- New Church Development (N.C.D.): a fellowship with a membership larger than 75 adults that either changes its status to be a chartered congregation or initiates the intentional process of becoming a congregation by its presbytery.
- Congregation: a chartered church in the PC(USA).
- Multicultural Church: chartered congregation with an ethnically diverse membership and church life.
(Definitions vary according to each presbytery)
Who We Are
Rev. Dr. Angel P. Suárez-Valera
Associate for New Immigrants and Emerging Ministries
The Rev. Dr. Angel P. Suárez-Valera works in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Presbyterian Mission Agency office of New Immigrants and Emerging Ministries, located in Louisville, KY, USA, since 2001. He was born and raised in Venezuela where he worked as Manager of Human/Social Development for the steel-making factory and as University Professor in Organizational Development.
After his ordination in Venezuela, as a Presbyterian minister in 1994, he went to Puerto Rico serving as Pastor of a rural congregation, Stated Clerk of the Synod, and Professor of Philosophy and Religion in the Interamerican University. He graduated from the Central University of Venezuela majoring in Organizational Psychology; holds a M.D. from the Seminary of Puerto Rico, and a M.S.T. from McCormick Seminary in Chicago, IL. In 2003, Angel received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from the United Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA. He’s currently finishing a D Min in Family Care from the Seminary of Puerto Rico.
Rev. Dr. Magdy Girgis
Field Staff for Middle Eastern Ministries
Rev. Dr. Magdy B. Girgis joined the Presbyterian Mission Agency ministry area of Racial Ethnic and Women's Ministries/Presbyterian Women as the Field Staff for Middle Eastern Ministries in the Office of New Immigrants and Emerging Ministries. His responsibilities include working in partnership with mid councils to develop and grow Middle Eastern new worshiping communities and their leadership. In addition, he will identify social justice inequities and act as a bridge for dialogue, promoting educational and cultural understanding of Middle Eastern issues in partnership with the National Middle Eastern Presbyterian Caucus and other groups.
Magdy is a board-certified chaplain at Vitas Hospice Care in California. He will serve part-time as the Field Staff for Middle Eastern Ministries as deployed staff while continuing to reside in Los Angeles, California, with his wife Afaf and two children, their son, David, and their daughter, Sarah. In addition to English, Magdy speaks his native language, Arabic.
Magdy brings to this position “the characteristics of leadership development, communication skills, partnership, wide and diverse administrative experiences, and proficiency in various fund development efforts.” He is committed to understanding the goal of igniting the movement to grow 1001 new worshiping communities “by investing a good time of my life in leading missions and developing local evangelism, which is what my life is centered around because it is my passion.”
The Great Commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind ... and you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39) as well as the Great Evangelistic Commission cited in Matthew 28:16-20 and Mark 16:14-18, are the basic biblical reflection for the mission of this office. Based on those principles, our challenge is to achieve the ministry goals inspired by Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-21: “I am not praying just for these followers. I am also praying for everyone else who will have faith because of what my followers will say about me. I want all of them to be one with each other, just as I am one with you and you are one with me. I also want them to be one with us. Then the people of this world will believe that you sent me.”
- Help the PC(USA) become more inclusive by welcoming immigrants as equal partners in ministry and mission.
- Help presbyteries to organize new immigrant fellowships and their growth to new church developments.
- Identify and develop religious leadership, focus on young immigrants and women, facilitating their inclusion as ministers of the Word and sacrament, elders and committee members at all levels.
- Structure a network for communications and follow-up among immigrant fellowships, middle governing bodies and offices of the General Assembly.
- Help immigrant congregations deal with matters related to church polity, presbyteries and synods under the Reformed theology.
- Develop immigrant field consultants as facilitators with the middle government bodies and their own ethnic group.
- Develop language-specific, generational and cultural sensitive resources for Christian education, worship, evangelism and mission.
- Facilitate the development of national organizations for new immigrant religious and social concerns.
Congregation Embraces New Immigrants
St Louis’ Carondelet-Markham Memorial welcomes Liberian refugees
The story of Cardondelet-Markham Memorial Presbyterian Church illustrates how Presbyterians are welcoming strangers in their midst into community. In 2005, 15 Liberian immigrant families made Cardondelet-Markham their home. See and hear the members’ stories.