World mission leader tapped for immigration advocacy position

January 10, 2017

Louisville

Amanda Craft, a global mission professional in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has been named manager for advocacy in the Office of Immigration Issues.

Her duties will include the continued development and expansion of Presbyterians for Just Immigration, a campaign to mobilize congregations, mid councils, and Presbyterian-related organizations to affirm and promote the civil and human rights of immigrants; and the coordination of network training opportunities for leaders in immigration advocacy work in their regions, consistent with the mandates of the General Assembly.

“We are thrilled to have Amanda join the team in the Office of Immigration Issues, which remains committed to helping the PC(USA) not only welcome the stranger, but also rediscover its identity as a church of the stranger,” said the Reverend Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly. “Her experience in World Mission, particularly in Central America, will serve us well as we work to interpret and implement PC(USA) policies on immigration issues.”

Craft has served since 2009 as a PC(USA) mission co-worker, and in 2013 she also became regional liaison for Mexico and Guatemala. Prior to that Craft served as associate for young adult programs in the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, as an ESL instructor with Jefferson County (Kentucky) Public Schools, as a PC(USA) young adult intern, and as a PC(USA) young adult volunteer.

“Amanda brings a wealth of gifts and talents to this position,” said Teresa Waggener, manager for legal services in the Office of Immigration Issues, which is lodged in the Office of the General Assembly (OGA). “As the manager of advocacy, she will connect networks of Presbyterians together to advocate for a more just immigration system.”

“So many are unsafe in their home countries and so many are here and insecure in their immigration status,” Waggener said. “I look forward to prayerfully working with her as she resources Presbyterians who are seeking a more faithful welcome in the U.S.”

Craft, along with Waggener, also will regularly convene a staff table on immigration issues that includes the OGA, the Presbyterian Mission Agency, the PC(USA) Office of Public Witness, and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.

Craft holds a bachelor of arts degree in environmental studies from Denison University, and is working toward a master of science degree in global and international education from Drexel University. She also has Spanish-language certification. 

“I am deeply thrilled to be taking on this new challenge. Immigration has been a part of my life and work for many years. Immigrants in the U.S. have played a significant role in shaping who I am,” Craft said. “This work is core to who we are as a family in Christ, and I believe this work is crucial for the faith community in the coming years. I am honored and privileged to be able to accompany those directly serving, working with, and advocating for immigrant communities.”

Craft is married to Omar Chan, facilitator for Presbyterian Border Region Outreach, and they have two children, Alejandro and Matteo. She begins her job as manager for advocacy on February 6.

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  1. Congratulations! What a time to take on this important work! I would like to contact Amanda by e-mail to get the latest updates on the immigration detention center program. Our church (Westminster in Salem, Oregon) is showing the video "Locked in a Box" that I got at General Assembly, on March 19. We will have time in our showing to have a discussion, and I know people will want pertinent actions they can do. Please contact me soon. I am chair of our Mission Peace committee.

    by Lucy Foster

    March 3, 2017

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