Immigrant Welcoming Conference

The Wisconsin Conference is proud to be an Immigrant Welcoming Conference

2017 resolution to become an Immigrant Welcoming Conference
After a year of study, the delegates at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Wisconsin Conference voted to become an Immigrant Welcoming Conference.  You can download the resolution here: Immigrant Welcoming Conference Resolution. This resolution calls on our congregations and on us to become active “Immigrant Welcoming Congregations and Communities”.

What is the Conference doing to live into the resolution?

Conference Minister Franz Rigert’s January, 2024 Pastoral Message on Immigration

Immigration Working Group
The Immigration Working Group (IWG) is a group of Wisconsin Conference clergy and lay leaders who are concerned about immigration justice.  We work to stay informed about and provide support for efforts in our local congregations to support refugees and immigrants, including those who are seeking asylum in the United States.  The IWG connects monthly (usually on the second Tuesday of the month at 1pm) via Zoom, maintains an email list, and sponsors/produces informative online webinars and workshops.

To learn more about how to get involved with the Immigration Working Group, email Lisa Hart, Associate Conference Minister for Faith Formation and Justice Ministries.

The Immigration Working Group is connected with the National Collaborative on Immigration (sign up to be part of the Collaboration here) through Refugee and Migration Ministries of the United Church of Christ.

“Responding to Anti-Immigration Talking Points as People of Faith: A Zoom workshop with the Rev. Doug Pagitt” 

In this election year, many politicians are choosing to use anti-immigration sentiments to attract and animate supporters.  On February 27, 2024, the IWG hosted a Zoom discussion with the Rev. Doug Pagitt, executive director of Vote Common Good, to help address the question of how people of faith like us might effectively respond to anti-immigration talking points.  Doug has extensive experience working on immigration justice issues and border policies and practices.  He responded to many of the most common anti-immigration talking points and myths and offered a factual and faith-based response to the anti-immigrant rhetoric flooding the public square.  The workshop was recorded; access the recording here.

Buy Fair Trade coffee and other products

The IWG is committed to promoting the purchase of Fair Trade products such as coffee by congregations in the Wisconsin Conference.  (For example: Just Coffee/Café Justo, a grower-owned coffee cooperative; coffee is grown in southern Chiapas and roasted in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico.  Café Justo’s mssion is to deliver high quality, organic, enviromentally conscious cofee to customers at a price that is fair and just and thereby provide incentive for people to remain on their family farms.)   We are hoping to help congregations and individuals connect the dots between human migration and climate change, and how buying fair trade can make a difference.

  • Download the IWG’s “Buy Fair Trade” brochure here
  • Watch and share the videorecording (available here) of the IWG’s September 28, 2023, Zoom workshop, “Why Fair Trade?: Connecting the dots…”,with presenters Nikki Anderson (owner of Change Boutique in Madison, which offers ethically produced clothing, jewelry, and other items) and Adrian Gonzalez of Café Justo in southern Chiapas, Mexico.

The Immigration Working Group has sponsored numerous Zoom workshops and webinars (and a worship liturgy) on topics of immigration justice.

Recordings (all approximately 90 minutes in length) may be accessed here:


  • What does it mean to be immigrant-welcoming in 2022? (September 29) A town hall style conversation about the many ways we are living into our 2017 resolution to be an Immigrant Welcoming Conference.  A discussion of what we are doing now–sponsoring refugees, accompanying asylum seekers, raising money, advocating for reform, and partnering with resettlement and other agencies to provide volunteer and financial support–led into suggestions for specific actions for congregations to take or explore.
    • Resource document shared with attendees.
    • Recording is accessible here.
  • “After Fort McCoy: Immigration Justice Here and Now with Our New Afghan Neighbors” (March 22) A conversation about ways congregations around the state are welcoming our new Afghan neighbors.  Presenters included the Rev. Peder Johanson, Volunteer Coordinator for Afghan Refugee Response with the Wisconsin Council of Churches; Mary Flynn, Program Manager for Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin & Upper Michigan,; and Ginny Close of the newly-formed group, Welcoming New Neighbors-NW WI Refugee Resettlement.  Recording is accessible here.


  • “Scenes from Our Own Backyard: Supporting Afghan Refugees” (November 4), with Rev. Irene Hassan, Minister for Refugee and Migration Services for the UCC. The recording is available here.
  •  “Immigration Justice Update” (September 30). The workshop included updates from Katie Adams, Policy Advocate for Domestic Issues in the UCC’s Washington, D.C. office, and Rev. Irene Hassan, UCC Minister for Refugee and Migration Services, as well as information on the work congregations and other groups are doing in Wisconsin and Minnesota to sponsor asylum-seeking families. The recording is available here.
  • Immigration Justice Worship Liturgy (September). The liturgy focuses on the plight of immigrants attempting to enter our country.  The liturgy is grounded in the biblical call to compassion, justice, and the “Extravagant Welcome” that is at the heart of the Gospel.  The liturgy is as an entire worship service for congregations interested in giving a Sunday morning worship experience to this theme, but individual prayers, litanies, and songs, could be used by themselves as well.
  • Three-part series, “Immigration Justice Reset”: 
    • April 20: In recognition of the many ways that justice issues intersect, this workshop, “Justice Reset: Advocating as People of Faith”, was co-sponsored by the Creation Care Team. Katie Adams, Policy Advocate for Domestic Issues in the UCC’s Washington, D.C. office, shared practical tips for effectively advocating for justice issues. The recording is available here.
    • March 16: A conversation with Carole Anne Donohoe and Katia Cardoza of Al Otro Lado‘s Family Reunification Project about their work. The recording is available here.
    • February 16: A conversation featuring Noel Andersen, the UCC & CWS Grassroots Coordinator for Immigrants’ Rights, the Rev. Randy Mayer of Good Shepherd UCC in Sahuarita, Arizona, Katie Adams, Policy Advocate for Domestic Issues in the UCC’s Washington, D.C. office, attorney Linda Zuba, and representatives from Al Otro LadoAccess the recording here


“Stories from the Border” webinars:
These informative webinars, presented by the Immigration Working Group and McFarland UCC’s Not In Our Name campaign, feature reports from Rev. Randy Mayer of Good Shepherd UCC in Sahuarita, Arizona, and Linda Zuba, an attorney from Rockford, IIlinois, active in immigration advocacy.  Noel Andersen, the UCC & CWS Grassroots Coordinator for Immigrants’ Rights, and Katie Adams, Policy Advocate for Domestic Issues in the UCC’s Washington D.C. office, offer updates on the work being done by the United Church of Christ on the issue of immigration justice. Access the recording of the June 25th webinar, “Stories from the Border”, here and the recording of the September 29th, “More Stories from the Border” here.

How can your congregation (and you) get involved in immigration justice?

It doesn’t matter if your congregation is large or small, urban or rural, rich or poor.  Congregations of any size, in any location, and with a range of financial resources can help their members and their community understand that loving our neighbors means all our neighbors.

In the fall of 2022, the IWG created “Wisconsin Conference UCC Immigration justice resource contacts”, a spreadsheet of people at Wisconsin congregations/organizations who are willing to talk to others about the immigration justice work they are doing or have done.  Each listing includes the name and location of the congregation or organization, a very brief description of the work that congregation or organization is doing, the name of one or more point people who are involved with the work, and contact information for those people. Access this resource here to add or edit information or to look for resource people.  We encourage people to add information to this resource!

Watch the workshop on Immigrant Welcoming Congregations (Summer, 2020)
The Immigration Working Group put together a workshop, “Immigrant-Welcoming Wisconsin: Living Out the Resolution”, to address how congregations are living out our resolution to be an Immigrant Welcoming Conference, with ideas on how churches might get involved in their communities or at our southern border.   Watch the workshop here.

Reach out to immigrants in your community.  Give them a chance to tell their stories.  Listen to what they need.

Educate yourself, your congregation, and interested members of your community about immigration justice

  • Put together a reading/video list (for example, “Teaching about Immigration” by Teaching for Change)
  • Organize a small (or large) group read or a movie night
  • On the southern border:
    • Attend the annual  Santa Cruz Valley Border Issues Fair, “Common Ground on the Border” (see Good Shepherd UCC website for more information)
    • Sponsor a border trip (for example, through Borderlinks)

Work with local or regional partners
Whenever possible, partner with immigrant communities and with organizations with expertise in the area of immigration justice. Working with partners speeds up the learning curve, helps you to find experts, and demonstrates that we want to provide what people truly need, not just what we think they need.  Partners are more likely to know local needs.  Partner organizations will vary from region to region and may include:

Donate to local, regional, or national organizations that support immigration justice

Stories and articles from Wisconsin UCC congregations


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