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PC(USA) supporting immigration and refugee conference

‘Together We Welcome’ webinar presented by Church World Service March 4-6

by Rich Copley | Presbyterian News Service

Massachusetts State Rep. Tram Nguyen will be one of the mainstage speakers at Together We Welcome. (Photo provided by Church World Service)

LEXINGTON, Kentucky — The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance are major supporters of a March 4-6 Church World Service conference about how people of faith can welcome immigrants and refugees.

Together We Welcome was originally slated for November but was then postponed as Church World Service (CWS) and its partners focused on serving a surge of refugees, particularly coming from Afghanistan after the United States ended its nearly 20-year war there.

Now, the virtual event is a go with two distinguished plenary speakers and four conference tracks addressing aspects of immigration and migration, plus a denominational meeting at the end.

“I am very excited about this conference because of the way it has been organized with such broad collaboration,” said Susan Krehbiel, Associate for Refugees and Asylum in Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA). “It is not an exaggeration to say that dozens of faith offices, refugee serving organizations, refugees and asylees are involved as speakers, facilitators and resource persons.  We have also asked all sessions to be sure to center the voice of the refugees and asylum seekers. And I want to give a shoutout to Church World Service staff for their dedication to making this conference possible.”

Krehbiel serves on the CWS Faith Solidarity Team along with Amanda Craft, Manager for Advocacy in the PC(USA)’s Office of the General Assembly’s Office of Immigration Issues.

Click here to register for Together We Welcome

Mainstage speakers for the conference will be Tram Nguyen, a Massachusetts state representative who is a first-generation Vietnamese American and the first in her family to graduate from college and law school, and the Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia A. Thompson, the Associate General Minister for Wider Church Ministries and Operations in the United Church of Christ and Co-Executive for Global Ministries with the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Participants in the conference can choose one of four tracks:

  • Advocacy — looking at the importance of advocacy and its effectiveness
  • Asylum — addressing the current process for asylum and resettlement
  • Resettlement — exploring how faith communities can respond
  • Climate — looking at the impact climate change is having on displacement

There is a bonus session specifically looking at Afghan refugees.

“When we began planning this conference last year, we had no idea how many more churches and faith groups would be getting directly involved with refugees and asylum seekers,” Krehbiel said. “This conference, therefore, is timely in providing important policy updates and practical information to be successful in ministries of welcome.”

The event will end with denominational breakout sessions, giving national denominational leaders and churches chances to network and learn from each other.

Sessions are 6 p.m. through 9 p.m. Eastern Time on March 4 and 2 p.m. through 6 p.m. Eastern Time on March 5 and 6. Registration is $25. Click here to register and for complete conference information.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is one of the Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Its work is made possible by your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing.

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