The Office of Immigration Issues was established by action of the 216th General Assembly (2004) in order to provide legal advice and counsel to mid-councils and congregations regarding immigration issues. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has continued to expand the work of the Office by directing the Office to coordinate advocacy and education efforts and create worship materials.
The Office is staffed by two immigration lawyers both of whom have a theological education. As co-managers of the office, Melissa and Teresa bring gifts and skills that enable the office to carry out the directives of the General Assembly in a way that both embraces the Christian tradition of radical hospitality and recognizes that the church is moving toward a new future, where we not only welcome but become the church God is calling us to be.
Melissa G. Davis
Melissa coordinates advocacy efforts for the church. She is a Candidate for the Ministry of the Word and Sacrament. Melissa received her M.Div. from Louisville Seminary and her Juris Doctor from the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville. As part of her preparation for the ministry, Melissa has served as a student pastor, a hospital chaplain, and law clerk with Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services. Before entering seminary and law school, she worked with survivors of domestic and sexual violence and environmental protection.
Melissa is a Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), her home church is First Presbyterian Church of Boone, North Carolina.
Teresa provides advice and counsel to mid-councils and congregations who are calling immigrant pastors and creates education and resource materials to Presbyterian entities about immigration law and General Assembly policy. Teresa has a Juris Doctor from the Brandeis School of Law and a Masters in Spirituality from Bellarmine University. Before her work at the Office of Immigration Issues, Teresa worked as a public defender, attorney for child protective services, and an immigration attorney for Kentucky Refugee Ministries.
For more information on the structure of the office, read this news release from July 2012.
View a chart of the legal assistance (PDF) the Office provides to mid-councils and congregations.
The work of the Office of Immigration Issues is supported through per capita dollars. However, you can choose to further support immigration education and advocacy efforts through this Extra Commitment Opportunity. Please note EC052074 on your check and send gifts to:
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Extra Commitment Opportunity
P.O. Box 643660
Pittsburgh PA 15264-3700