Caring for LGBTQIA+ Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Part 1
At More Light, we often hear from congregational leaders who have active ministries to both LGBTQ people and refugees, and who want to be a better source of support to both populations but may be unsure how best to do so.
This 3-part series will address the ways in which congregations can better serve
LGBTQ refugees, and asylum seekers.
Series Trainer: Susan Krehbiel
Susan Krehbiel has over 25 years of experience in refugee and asylum ministries, primarily through faith-based non-profits. For most of her career she has worked in both the development of direct service programs and public policies. Of particular significance to her was her work developing new national programs and policies to protect unaccompanied children seeking asylum and the 2 years plus she spent in South America helping establish new resettlement countries.
Susan works for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance to coordinate PC(USA) humanitarian response with refugees and asylum seekers and advocacy on their behalf, by inspiring, connecting and equipping the denomination and local congregations to carry out these ministries. In addition to her work for PDA, Susan works for the Presbytery of Baltimore. She is married to Norman Lazarus and is a ruling elder and member of Catonsville Presbyterian Church in Baltimore County, Maryland.
Co-Trainer: Alex Patchin McNeill
Alex Patchin McNeill has served as the Executive Director of More Light Presbyterians since 2013. During his tenure at More Light, he has equipped congregations to live into policy change for inclusion of LGBTQ people and has successfully enacted policies for marriage equality in the Presbyterian Church, USA. Under his leadership, More Light now serves as a capacity-building organization, equipping congregations to work intersectionally on justice issues. As a trained professional coach through the International Coaching Federation, Alex brings a coaching approach to his work with church leaders and congregations seeking to follow God’s call to widen their welcome, increase church vitality, or develop and implement new programs. In addition, he coaches leaders taking a leap of faith to launch a new project, stepping into a leadership role, or discerning a new calling.
As an openly transgender man with a wealth of experience both professionally and personally, he is a sought-after trainer and facilitator of workshops on gender identity and sexual orientation. He has over a decade of experience training hundreds of community leaders, and has played key roles organizing faith communities for marriage equality in Maryland and legislation to promote LGBTQ rights. Alex is a Candidate for Ordination in the Presbyterian Church, USA, and holds a Master’s of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. He currently lives in Durham, NC.
Part 1. What did we learn?
- Language and terminology related to the experiences of LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers
- A theological/biblical grounding for the importance of responsible ministry with LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers
- A general understanding of the circumstances LGBTQI refugees coming into the U.S. face
- Ways congregations can have the conversation about the WHY.
- The current landscape for refugees and people seeking asylum
- The Detainment Process/current landscape
- The Cycle for Asylum Seekers – Asylees
- The reality of the processes on people’s lives
- Support for people in detention
- Support for people in our local communities, and how to identify community-based projects
- Advocacy for just and humane policies
- Lifting up projects being led by people who’ve been formerly detained, people who are LGBTQ – people who are organizing within their community