Women of Welcome Webinars in 2020

This year we hosted twelve webinars to bring you up-to-date information, diverse perspectives, and on-the-ground wisdom from people of faith living out Christ-like welcome. Here is a roundup of the interviews that taught us so much this year, in case you missed any. Thank you for being with us as we seek to learn, engage, and grow to be more like Christ in our welcome toward the sojourner.

Sarah Quezada talked Matthew Soerens of World Relief to discuss the current reality of the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program, how changes are impacting families and religious groups, and the status of local leaders making decisions about resettlement.

We celebrated Valentine’s Day by talking with a mixed-status couple who walked through the immigration together alongside their own love story. How do you tell someone you love you’re undocumented? How does a Christian couple navigate this experience? What would you go back and change if you could? All this and more when you watch this webinar!

Vicki Courtney says God began stirring her heart a few years ago about what it looks like to be ‘holistically pro-life.’ This year as many of us were wondering what ways we can care for our families and love our vulnerable neighbors well. We talked with Vicki about her journey and God’s invitation to volunteer to serve a refugee family and to travel to the U.S. – Mexico border. Listen to her discuss how she’s understanding what it means to be pro-life especially in today’s complicated times.

In this election year, we wondered how to engage with others in loving ways, especially when we disagree about important topics. We need a guide to engaging in politics. That’s why we talked with Eugene Cho, author of Thou Shalt Not Be a Jerk: A Christian’s Guide to Engaging Politics. Cho maintains that Christians shouldn’t profess blind loyalty to any party, but that they should engage with politics because politics inform policies which impact people.

Our stories have influence. Podcaster, author, and speaker Jamie Ivey understands this power of story. Enjoy this incredible conversation as we talked to her about why we should tell our stories, especially those that motivate us to care for immigrants and refugees, and the lies that keep us from doing so. We discussed how to best share online, in person, and during this election year. Jamie came with us to the border last year and shares her own story about how she came to care about the challenges facing immigrants and refugees.

Is family separation back at the border? Is the U.S. deporting children alone? Has our asylum process ended? What’s next for Dreamers after the DACA decision? There were 46 immigration policy changes from March to June during COVID. It felt impossible for any of us to keep up! In June, we talked with Jenny Yang, World Relief’s Senior Vice President of Advocacy & Policy, to get trusted, up-to-date information on immigration. She walked us through what’s really happening, how we can respond, and God’s heart for the immigrant.

We want to know what’s going on with children at the border and how we can help. That’s why we listen to our friends over at Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), the leading national organization advocating for the rights of unaccompanied migrants. In July we talked with Jen Podkul, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at KIND about current family separations, changing practices with kids at the border and in detention, and how we can support vulnerable children.

Learn how our refugee resettlement program was started and how it’s operating now. Follow the stories of two women who fled their homelands for safety and have settled in Texas. Hear how policy changes are still separating families and how refugees are coping with the current crisis. We talked with writer and advocate Jessica Goudeau. She has spent more than a decade working with refugees in Austin, TX and is the author of After the Last Border: Two Families and the Story of Refuge in America.

In a culture where peace is increasingly elusive, how can Christ’s peace change our perspective? This fall we dove into a new Women of Welcome study on peacemaking and we wanted to better understand our legacy of peace as followers of Jesus. That’s why we talked with British American author, editor, and speaker Jill Briscoe. She has partnered with her husband in ministry for over 50 years and written over 40 books. She currently serves as the founder and Executive Editor of Just Between Us magazine. She is a former member of the boards of directors of World Relief and Christianity Today.

How can we follow God’s command to welcome others when the world can feel so unwelcoming? How do we speak up about difficult issues? We want to make peace in our homes, communities, and the world, but aren’t sure where to start. We spoke about these things and more in our conversation with Jo Saxton—author, speaker, podcaster, and entrepreneurial coach. Born to Nigerian parents and raised in London, Jo brings a multicultural and international perspective to her leadership training for women. She is co-host of the podcast Lead Stories and the founder of the Ezer Collective, an initiative that equips women in leadership. Jo is the author of four books, including Ready To Rise: Own Your Voice, Gather Your Community, Step Into Your Influence. Jo helps us understand how we can pursue our callings, own our voices, and gather our communities as we step into peacemaking.

After the election is over, how do we move forward in our communities, churches, and in the space of immigration? No matter our party affiliation or who is elected, our compassion and engagement remains important. We must find the best way to move forward, as Christians in this space. We talked with Dr. Russell Moore in November to help us navigate what comes next. Dr. Moore is President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the moral and public entity of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. Prior to his election in 2013, Moore served as provost and dean of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where he also taught theology and ethics. Dr. Moore helps think through the best ways to engage our churches for more involvement and concern in the area of immigrant and refugee issues.

Most of us are miles from the U.S./Mexico border and we feel removed from the realities there. What is happening? What are people of faith doing? How can we help? This month we had a conversation with Sister Norma Pimentel, one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People of 2020. Sister Norma is the Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, and in 2015, she was awarded Rio Grande Valley’s “Citizen of the Year” for her advocacy for immigrant and refugee families. Her life of service is an inspiration and an invitation to go deeper.