Learning From Immigration Stories: Opening Our Doors, Hearts, & Minds

The narrative around immigration isn’t always helpful. Too often it’s wrapped in the kind of heated rhetoric and misinformation that’s intended to create fear and worry. We need a better vision. The stories of our siblings have something to teach us.   


Authors Karen González, Patrick Cabello Hansel, and  Heidi Neumark share the ways immigration stories increase our understanding and deepen our support.

Thursday, May 6 1:00 PM CDT
FREE Admission

(Registration will be capped at 300 participants.)

Over the last five years, we’ve heard a lot about “sanctuary cities,” “caravans,” and the need for more “border security.” In most cases, those words and phrases have been used as dog whistles and rallying cries. Even though they’re loaded terms that pander to our worst instincts, they’ve still shaped how we think about immigration.

What if there is more to the story than we know? What if the people, the churches, and the communities behind the headlines have something to teach us? 

These three authors invite you into their stories.

Will you join them?

I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. – Mathew 25:35

You're invited to a time of discovery

The Devouring Land

The three sections of the poetry collection “The Devouring Land” explore immigration, ministry in the inner city, and the gift of water.

Poet Jude Nutter says: “These beautifully crafted narratives… both spiritual and deeply visceral…create a powerful litany exploring the limits and demands of faith and the struggle of bearing witness to the lives of the undocumented, disappeared, and marginalized…In these poems the unseen and the dead step forwards, take back their voices and their names, and find a place to sing.

The God Who Sees: Immigrants, the Bible, and the Journey to Belong

In The God Who Sees immigration advocate Karen Gonzalez recounts her family’s migration from the instability of Guatemala to a new life in Los Angeles and the suburbs of south Florida. In the midst of language barriers, cultural misunderstandings, and pressure to assimilate, Gonzalez encounters Christ through a campus ministry program and begins to follow him.

The God Who Sees includes the sweeping epic of immigrants and refugees in Scripture. Within it, find resources for welcoming immigrants in your community and speaking out about an outdated immigration system.

Sanctuary: Being Christian in the Wake of Trump

“Through the pages of this book, I invite you into various spaces of sanctuary—not as places of retreat, but for the deepened resistance, vision, and transformation that these days, and the gospel, require.”

Throughout her nearly forty years in ministry, Heidi Neumark has strived to make communities of faith into sanctuaries amid the turmoils of life. Now, with the social and political upheaval of the years since Donald Trump was elected president, Neumark believes the true Christian calling is to live out a counterpoint to today’s prevailing spirits of exclusion and hatred. Using her own bilingual, multicultural congregation as a model, she moves through the seasons of the church calendar to reflect on what it looks like to live out essential Christian convictions in community with others.

What You’ll Gain

  • Strategies for facilitating storytelling and deep listening to immigration stories

  • The connection between the Bible’s story and the contemporary reality of immigration

  • The difference faith communities can make in the lives of immigrants

  • Understanding how our own experience of inclusion and exclusion affects how we see immigrants

  • How churches and faith communities can contribute to changing the narrative around immigration


Learn More
Experience how God is at work in the church and world through immigration and how God may be calling your community to join in.

Meet the Authors


Patrick Cabello Hansel

Patrick Cabello Hansel is a husband, father and Lutheran pastor who served bilingual, urban parishes in the Bronx, Philadelphia and Minneapolis for over 35 years. He is the author of two collections of poetry: “The Devouring Land” and “Quitting Time”, forthcoming from Atmosphere Press. He blogs about his passion for beauty and justice at http://spiritwound.blogspot.com/.


Karen González

Karen González is a speaker, writer, and immigrant advocate, who herself immigrated from Guatemala as a child. Karen is a former public school teacher and attended Fuller Theological Seminary, where she studied theology and missiology. For the last 11 years, she has been a non-profit professional, currently working for World Relief, an organization that serves immigrants and refugees. She wrote a book about her own immigration story and the many immigrants found in the Bible: The God Who Sees: Immigrants, The Bible, and the Journey to Belong (Herald Press, May 2019). 


Heidi Neumark

Heidi Neumark is an author, speaker and Lutheran pastor who has served congregations in the South Bronx and presently in Manhattan. Her experiences in congregational and community leadership in the Bronx led to a highly acclaimed book, "Breathing Space: A Spiritual Journey in the South Bronx" (Beacon Press 2003), winner of the 2004 Wilbur Award given by the Religion Communicators Council.  In her present position, Pastor Neumark also serves as the executive director of a shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth. She holds an honorary doctorate of divinity from Muhlenberg College.

Are you an author whose book could be of value to the Faith+Lead audience? We might be able to feature you during an upcoming Book Hub event! Contact us to learn more.

Learn from Immigration Stories