Doubling the effort
Davis and Waggener named co-managers for Immigration Issues
July 17, 2012
Melissa Garrett Davis and Teresa J. Waggener haves been named co-managers for Immigration Issues in the Office of the General Assembly (OGA) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The announcement was made on Monday (July 16) by the Reverend Andrew Black, director of Constitutional Services in OGA.
Davis (formerly Gee) and Waggener will team together to help interpret and implement Presbyterian policy on immigration issues. They will coordinate the development and distribution of resources related to immigration issues for, and in collaboration with, congregations, mid-councils, other PC(USA) agencies, PC(USA) seminaries, and the Office of Public Witness.
“In serving together as co-managers, Melissa and Teresa bring the necessary vision, gifts, and skills needed to equip and help the church live faithfully into its calling as a community of faith, hope, love, and witness,” said Black.
Davis began her work with OGA in January 2010 serving as the advocacy and legal services coordinator for the Office of Immigration Issues. In May of 2011, she received joint degrees—Juris Doctor (University of Louisville) and Master of Divinity (Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary).
Black said, “With a background in law, theology, and ministry, Melissa brings a tough mind and a tender heart to her continued work in Immigration Issues. As one who embodies the balance between the pastoral and the prophetic, she will continue to serve the church with great energy, intelligence, imagination, and love.”
Waggener, who will begin her new work on July 23, comes to OGA from having served most recently as the immigration attorney for Kentucky Refugee Ministries in Louisville, Ky. She has also worked as assistant counsel in the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services, as well and as a public defender in the La Grange and Richmond trial offices.
Waggener holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Louisville, as well as a Master in Spirituality degree from Bellarmine University and Louisville Presbyterian Seminary.
“Teresa brings a wealth of legal experience and expertise to the Office of Immigration Issues,” said Black. “Her passion for living out the gospel through spirituality and serving those in need will greatly benefit our communities and the entire PC(USA).”
He continued, “Having two highly trained professionals and skilled attorneys serving as co-managers will enable us to satisfy relevant General Assembly mandates. It will also afford us the opportunity to be proactive in providing the church with legal and educational resources, trainings, workshops, and seminars on PC(USA) policy and issues ranging from refugees, border issues, farmworkers, and human trafficking to religious worker visas, immigrant detention, and interpretation of state and federal immigration laws.”