2016 Symposium | Sessions and Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Jenny Yang
Chapel (11:05 – 11:45 a.m.): Wednesday, September 21
“A Christian Response to the Global Migration Crisis”

Jenny Yang is the Vice President of Advocacy and Policy at World Relief where she provides oversight for all advocacy initiatives and policy positions at World Relief, representing the organization’s advocacy priorities to the U.S. government and mobilizing churches on advocacy campaigns. She also served as Director of Advocacy and Policy at World Relief focusing on refugee protection, immigration, and human rights, and as a Senior Case Manager, focused on refugee processing and case management for World Relief’s refugee and immigration programs.Jenny has researched refugee and asylum law in Madrid, Spain through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and is on an active deployment roster for UNHCR.  She is also former chair of the Refugee Council USA (RCUSA) Africa Work Group which brought NGOs and government partners together on the protection of African refugees.

She is co-author of “Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate” (2009, InterVarsity Press) and also contributing author to “Talking Taboo: American Women Get Frank about Faith” (2012, White Cloud Press) and “Global Diasporas and Mission: Volume 23” (2014, Regnum Books International). She has also written articles for numerous newspapers, magazines, and other publications. She speaks extensively at many conferences and universities across the United States and was named “50 Women to Watch” by Christianity Today in 2012.

Danny Carroll
Chapel (11:05 – 11:45 a.m.): Friday, September 23
“Immigrant Stories in the Bible: New Lenses for Reading Scripture”

Danny Carroll is half-Guatemalan and was raised bilingual and bicultural. During his youth, he spent many summers in Guatemala and later taught at El Seminario Teológico Centroamericano in Guatemala City for thirteen years. The relevance of the biblical text for the challenges of poverty, war, and politics in those developing countries led Carroll to a passionate focus on Old Testament social ethics and the social sciences. In addition, his studies in English literature and literary theory have generated an ongoing engagement with literary approaches to the Old Testament and critical studies. Experiences in this country and abroad have led Carroll to a deep appreciation for the unique contributions that ethnic minorities, women, and the global church make to the interpretation of the Old Testament.

Danny Carroll now serves as Blanchard Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. He holds a Ph.D. in Old Testament from the University of Sheffield and a Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary.  He is the author of three books, including Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible, and has edited and written numerous other publications.

Carroll and his wife have two adult married sons and two grandsons.  They enjoy Latin American food and music and collecting Guatemalan art.

Workshop Details

David Drury – “Immigrant Connection - How Churches Do Immigrant Legal Work” - Chamberlain 329

Abstract: Fresh stories about how churches are already deeply engaged in working on the solution side of this problem with immigrant legal services. Find out how practical street-level ministry changes hearts and minds through service motivated by love, when people discover that immigration is an issue, but immigrants are people.

David Drury is chief of staff of The Wesleyan Church, founder of Immigrant Connection, and author of ten books including Transforming Presence.

Kelsey Herbert – “How to change systems and attitudes: Breaking down barriers to immigration reform” - Chamberlain 327

Abstract: Myths and sound bites are drowning out the true story of our broken immigration system and the blessings immigrants bring to the US. Join us in learning how our current immigration system functions through a simulation where you will receive a new identity of an individual wishing to immigrate to the US and try to navigate the US immigration system. Advocates must understand how our legal immigration system works to be able to change it. Learn how to answer the question, “Why don’t they just get in line?” and how to help change the conversation so that 12 million voices can be heard. After we learn how it works, we can then discuss how to work towards a more just system.

Kelsey Herbert works with the Christian Reformed Church Office of Social Justice as a Campaign Coordinator for the Immigrants Are a Blessing Not a Burden campaign. Kelsey graduated from Hope College in Holland, MI in 2014 with a degree in International Studies and Spanish. She is passionate about changing the conversation about immigrants in the US and advocating for a more just immigration system.

Ben Bissell – “Are Refugees and Immigrants Bad for Local Economies? An Exploration of Immigrant Businesses’ Impact on Culture and Economic Development” - Chamberlain 228

Refugees and other immigrants are transforming the City of Buffalo’s economy and culture through the establishment and expansion of local businesses. This workshop will explore how local organizations are encouraging this momentum through innovation and effective implementation of grassroots economic development techniques, including microfinance and incubators.

Learn how immigrant business owners and entrepreneurs start and expand businesses, creating income for themselves, their families, and their communities. Learn how these businesses affect communities’ culture. Learn about the various services and products that facilitate the process. Discuss how you believe politics, existing societal structures, and cultural dynamics negatively or positively affect immigrant business ownership and expansion and, more generally, local economic development. Discover practical ways to participate in these systems to encourage successful, cost-effective, and non-exploitative economic development.

This particular workshop will include plenty of humor, interactivity, deliberation, and practical outcomes. You will learn about community-driven economic development activities, how systems affect this work, and how you can get involved now or in the future. Although the presenter will reference academic papers regarding the impact of refugees and immigrants on the economy, a practitioner (not an academic) is leading the discussion.

Ben Bissell, 27, is the Executive Director of Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI).  In two years Bissell has grown the WEDI budget by 454% and now oversees 13 staff, 15 interns, and over 200 volunteers who implement core programs in education and business. He obtained a B. A. in Urban and Regional Analysis and Planning from Buffalo State College and did graduate studies in City and Regional Planning with a focus on International and Economic Development at Cornell University and the University at Buffalo. As a youth, he lived in Russia and traveled to over 10 countries.

Danny Carroll – “God and Migration? Ancient Realities, Modern Challenges, and Divine Revelation” - Chamberlain 123

Abstract: Too often our views on migration and immigrants are shaped by the media, friends, and family. As Christians, we need to ground our view on what the Bible says about these matters… and the Old and New Testament actually have a lot to say about migration and immigrants! This workshop offers an overview of the biblical material and demonstrates that God has a heart for the stranger. How should we respond to the foreigners in our midst? Come and find out. You will be surprised just how much there is in the Bible!

Danny Carroll is a Blanchard Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and also serves as the National Spokesperson on immigration for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.  He holds a Ph.D. in Old Testament from the University of Sheffield and a Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary.  Before coming to Wheaton, Danny Carroll taught Old Testament at Denver Seminary for many years, where he founded a Spanish-language lay training program. He is the author of three books, including Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible, as well as having edited and written numerous other publications.  Carroll is half-Guatemalan and spent 13 years living and teaching in Guatemala City.

Film: “Documented”

In 2011, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas outed himself as an undocumented immigrant in an essay published in the New York Times MagazineDocumented chronicles his journey to America from the Philippines as a child; his journey through America as an immigration reform activist; and his journey inward as he re-connects with his mother, whom he hasn't seen in person in over 20 years.