– November 6, 2009-
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Congress and Obama administration will deliberate a new set of issues during the 2010 Congressional session, and Christian advocates expect immigration and concerns about global migration to be among them. Over 700 persons of faith from across the country are planning to visit Capitol Hill next March 19 – 22 for the eighth annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice Conference.
Policy makers, expert speakers and representatives from global regions will join church leaders and grassroots activists in reflecting on the 2010 Ecumenical Advocacy Days conference theme, “A Place to Call Home: Immigrants, Refugees, and Displaced Peoples.” The conference will focus a variety of workshops and presentations on the subject of shaping U.S. immigration and refugee policies, as well as provide an opportunity to explore how the problems of migration and forced displacement around the world are being accelerated by worsening economic conditions, conflicts and global climate change.
Speakers and preachers confirmed so far include the Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships; Bishop Minerva Carcaño of the United Methodist Church Desert Southwest Conference; and Sister Helen Prejean, Anti-Death Penalty Activist and author of Dead Man Walking.
“Debates about immigration may be the lens through which U.S. citizens view the issue of global migration, but the situation here is just part of a global phenomenon of migration within and across borders,” explains Jesse Marsden, conference coordinator for Ecumenical Advocacy Days. “Whether due to poverty, war or climate change, the number of migrants and displaced people around the world is greater than ever before. As Christians we are reminded that Jesus and his family had to flee home and seek a place to lay their head, and as followers we’re called to welcome the stranger in our midst. As citizens we should work for policies and practices that make a place for the displaced and secure the rights of the uprooted.”
Participants will attend plenary sessions and workshops addressing a range of issues from U.S. border policy and human trafficking to the needs of migrant worker rights and development assistance in the United States, Middle East, Asia-Pacific region, Africa and Latin America. On March 22, participants will meet with their members of Congress to discuss ways of addressing these concerns through legislation or budget priorities.
Ecumenical Advocacy Days is a movement of the ecumenical Christian community and its recognized partners and allies which is grounded in biblical witness and shared traditions of justice, peace and the integrity of creation. Its goal, through worship, theological reflection and opportunities for learning and witness, is to strengthen the Christian voice of citizens mobilized for advocacy on a wide variety of U.S. domestic and international policy issues.
Registration and more information about Ecumenical Advocacy Days is at http://www.advocacydays.org on the Web. Student scholarships are available.