2018 National Gathering Workshops


This high impact weekend, sponsored by the ecumenical Christian community, is grounded in biblical witness and our shared traditions of justice, peace and the integrity of creation. Our goal is to strengthen our Christian voice and mobilize for advocacy on specific U.S. domestic and international policy issues.

Some planned workshops for our 2018 National Gathering include the following topics:

  • Faith Leaders Respond to White Supremacy
  • Climate Change Refugees and Latin America: Grassroots Voices & Community Identities
  • Justice Threats to Unaccompanied Minors
  • Rebuilding Puerto Rico & the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Environmental Racism: When Climate, Cultural Biases & Race Collide
  • Climate Refugees/Climate Change & Forced Migration
  • Uprooted Communities Displaced By Extractive Industries
  • Gender-based Violence/Violence Against Women
  • The Intersection of Migrants, Refugees and Displaced People with Human Trafficking
  • Immigration & Alternatives to Detention

One workshop we are happy to highlight early is entitled “The Refugee Next Door.” It will be led by the Rev. Lee Schott, pastor of Women at the Well United Methodist Church in Iowa, which is housed within the walls of the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women:

We think of refugees as those people “over there,” in foreign countries far away. But we are, all of us, surrounded by people who aren’t that different from the refugees fleeing persecution in other countries. Our “local” refugees are made visible through our prisons, where many of them land. Prison becomes an unexpected refuge for many who couldn’t otherwise escape the abuse and addiction that have plagued every chapter of their lives. When they return to the community from their time behind bars, they face a resettlement process with obstacles WE have imposed, as a culture: heavy fines and pay-for-stay debts, limits on housing and job opportunities, the revocation of their right to vote, and more. More of these persons than you’d expect have lost everything–all of their possessions, their relationships, every sense of self.

This workshop will consider what it would mean to think about these persons as refugees in our midst.We’ll use stories and discoveries from Rev. Schott’s ministry–Women at the Well–which is a church inside the women’s prison in Mitchellville, Iowa, and our reentry program that works with dozens of women every year who are making their journey “home.”

Read more about Rev. Schott’s work in the Des Moines Register.

View the video below, also from the Des Moines Register featuring Rev. Schott:


In addition, there will be several focus areas around which workshops will be grouped:

  • Africa
  • Asia-Pacific
  • Domestic U.S.
  • Eco-Justice
  • Global Economic Justice
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Middle East
  • Peace and Global Security
  • Skills Training in Advocacy and Other Issue Engagements

More information will be posted about workshops as it becomes available. Please check back.

Contributing Sponsors & Partner Organizations