Immigration Reformation


Everyone wants immigration reform. But we stand a divided country, ready to come to blows over the prescription for our broken system. Even within the church, hostile opinions leave us wondering what the “Christian position” on immigration ought to be. Could it be that all of us in the United States desperately need both a restructuring of laws and a restructuring of the heart?

What if we saw ourselves as strangers, considered our own status as immigrants, and reframed the whole conversation about borders in terms of the upside down kingdom? Maybe what we need is not just immigration reform, but an immigration reformation. What if, instead of remaining ignorant, silent, fearful, or a resounding gong, the church took up this movement from the perspective of our citizenship in Jesus’ kingdom?

This conference will seek to explore the hard questions on every side of this debate. We will not pretend the answers are easy for families who feel their jobs are threatened by immigration or for children brought to the country illegally who know no other home. But we will consider that behind every argument for one form or another of immigration reform, there is a story, a person, a family, and a community. The human component of immigration must shape our response in light of Jesus’ compassionate work. We will ask what role the church should play in immigration and what difference it makes to look at this issue through a biblical lens.

Come to this event on April 27, 2013 at Multnomah University for a primer on the most pressing immigration issues facing the US today and a unique look at the church’s role in engaging this struggle with compassion and truth.


Register: before April 15 to take advantage of early bird rates!



Early Bird (register before 4/15) Regular (register after 4/15)
Student (any school) $5 $10
MU staff/faculty/alum $10 $15
General public $20 $25



8:30 – 9:00am Registration in Travis-Lovitt Hall
9:00 – 9:30am Opening session in Bradley classrooms
9:30 – 10:50am Plenary 1 in JCA
10:50 – 11:00am Break
11:00 – 11:50am Workshops 1 in Travis-Lovitt classrooms
11:50am – 12:45pm Lunch
12:45 – 1:45pm Workshops 2 in Travis-Lovitt classrooms
1:45 – 1:50pm Break
1:50 – 4:00pm Plenary 2 in JCA


Harper picLisa Sharon Harper, Sojourners’ director of mobilizing, was the founding executive director of New York Faith & Justice—an organization at the hub of a new ecumenical movement to end poverty in New York City. In that role she organized faith leaders to speak out for immigration reform and organized the South Bronx Conversations for Change, a dialogue-to-change project between police and the community (among many other things!). She has written extensively on tax reform, comprehensive immigration reform, health-care reform, poverty, racial justice, and transformational civic engagement for publications and blogs including The National Civic Review, God’s Politics blog, The Huffington Post, Urban Faith, Prism, and Slant33. Harper’s faith-rooted approach to advocacy and organizing has activated people across the U.S. and around the world to address structural and political injustice as an outward demonstration of their personal faith.

Campbell pic

Roxana Campbell came to the United States in 1982, escaping a civil war in her beloved country of El Salvador. When the government threatened her father’s life her parents fled with her and her younger brother to the United States to reunite with her father’s family in the Northwest. She was five years old at the time. Roxana is the first on her mother’s side to graduate high school and college. Justice in immigration has been a passion in Roxana’s life due to being directly affected by its complex and often painful process. She also has witnessed numerous family members being treated unfairly and indiscriminately by US immigration policies. Therefore, when given the opportunity through her personal story and family narrative, she speaks out for reform and puts a human face to the topic. Roxana Campbell and her husband Tory Campbell pastor Irvington Covenant Church in Portland, OR where they lead a multi ethnic congregation.

PLM streetcar

Paul Louis Metzger is the Founder and Director of The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins. He serves as New Wine’s catalyst for cultivating a community of people brought together around a shared vision of bearing witness to Christ in contemporary culture. The New Wine, New Wineskins framework is integrated into Dr. Metzger’s courses at Multnomah Biblical Seminary, where he serves as Professor of Christian Theology and Theology of Culture. Dr. Metzger is editor of the journal Cultural Encounters: A Journal for the Theology of Culture, which is a publication of The Institute for the Theology of Culture. Dr. Metzger is the author Connecting Christ and numerous other works.

Estle pic

Adam Estle serves Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding as Executive Director. Adam has traveled to many Middle Eastern countries on learning and peacemaking tours, including Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. Another of Adam’s passions is working in the field of immigration. Adam is part of a group of evangelical church leaders in Arizona that advocate for a compassionate and biblical approach to comprehensive immigration reform. He currently volunteers as an immigration case worker at Catholic Charities while building an immigration program at LifeBridge Community Alliance in Phoenix, Arizona. Adam is in the process of becoming accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals to practice immigration law for underserved clients in the community.

Dixson picGabriella Dixson is a senior Psychology student at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon.  This past year she has been involved with the startup of a chapter of G92, a nationwide college movement dedicated to immigration reform, at her school’s campus and has put together various events promoting awareness as well as helping to organize the core group of students that advocate for immigration reform on a regular basis.  As the president of the club, Dixson’s group is entirely student led and has potential to remain a sustainable campus organization throughout these critical years of pushing for faith based reform. She hopes to pursue her career in diversity studies and counseling after her graduation May 4, 2013.

LopezReyna Lopez, 
26, has dedicated her professional and personal life to social justice and issues that effect immigrant and non-immigrant Latinos locally and nationally. As a daughter of immigrants from Mexico, she has seen firsthand the struggles that immigrant families go through. It was during her time at Willamette University, in Salem Oregon, where she decided she wanted to do everything in her power to fight for a better future for her community. In 2009, Reyna worked at the Bus Project, organizing thousands of young people for people powered politics. Today, she is the Civic Engagement Director at Causa Oregon, where she has found her calling working for immigrant rights. At her young age, she has quickly becoming a young leader in Oregon’s Progressive and Immigrant Rights movement, fighting for issues like Tuition Equity, Driver’s License Restoration for all Oregonians, Immigrant Integration and pushing to empower the Latino community through leadership development, education and civic engagement.

Harper, B picBrad Harper has been Associate Professor of Theology at Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon since 1999. Prior he served thirteen years as a pastor and church planter. Dr. Harper also serves Associate Director of The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins and as Book Review Editor for Cultural Encounters: A Journal for the Theology of Culture. Dr. Harper’s publications include Exploring Ecclesiology: An Evangelical and Ecumenical Introduction, co-authored with Dr. Paul Louis Metzger.


Burch pic

Greg Burch is Chair of Intercultural Studies Department and Director of MAGDJ Program at Multnomah University. Prior to teaching at Multnomah, he served street-living children and youth in Caracas, Venezuela through a small grass-roots organization (and later through the Latin America Mission). After a number of years in Caracas, his family moved to Costa Rica where he taught in a seminary and focused on training Latin American missionaries going into a number of different contexts including creative access countries. This also included starting a training program for those working with children at risk around the world.

ConklinMira Conklin is Coordinator of Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice (formerly Oregon New Sanctuary Movement), a coalition of diverse congregations and people of faith and conscience committed to solidarity with immigrants, changing unjust laws and systems, and creating communities of radical welcome. Originally from Michigan, she graduated from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and served immigrant communities in Woodburn and Cornelius through the United Methodist Church before moving to Portland. Her commitment to immigrant justice work emerged as a natural response to the struggles of her undocumented friends and neighbors. She is also seeking to live out a call to live incarnationally in an immigrant neighborhood by establishing a new monastic community in SE Portland.



I Was a Stranger challenge (self-guided Bible study)

Evangelical Immigration Table (organization)

G92 (organization)

Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice (organization)

Causa, Oregon’s Immigrant Rights Organization (organization)

Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (organization)

Center for Intercultural Organizing (organization)

A New Dream (video)

Dr. Richard Land on policy solutions (video)

Jim Crow Immigration Reform and Eating Crow (blog)

Illegal Families (blog)

I Am An Illegal Immigrant (blog)

Illegal Questions, Part 1 (blog)

Illegal Questions, Part 2 (blog)


  1. I Am An Illegal Immigrant

    […] The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins’ conference “Immigration Reformation”, we hope to engage in open conversations which are honest and truthful and that complexify the […]