The Stranger: There once was a refugee family named Joseph, Mary and Jesus
The Refugee Crisis and How a Congregation Can Make a Difference

Wednesday 21 March in the Thurber Room – Meal at 19h; Presentation 19h45-21h15

Ralston DeffenbaughMr. Deffenbaugh will talk about the strong Biblical, theological, and historical foundation for Christian service with refugees and migrants. In fact, they are us. He will give an overview of the current global refugee situation and give examples of how individuals and congregations can respond to our Lord’s call to “welcome the stranger.”

Ralston Deffenbaugh (Ralie) is a human rights lawyer who has spent most of his career working for the church. He retired in June 2017 after seven years’ service as the Lutheran World Federation’s Assistant General Secretary for International Affairs and Human Rights. In that role, he coordinated the LWF’s international affairs and human rights advocacy and policy development, advised the General Secretary, and served as the LWF’s main representative to the United Nations offices in Geneva.

Mr. Deffenbaugh’s previous experience includes 18 years heading up the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (the U.S. Lutheran churches’ agency for resettling refugees and working with asylum seekers, unaccompanied refugee children, and persons in immigration detention), six years heading up the Lutheran Office for World Community (representing LWF at UN headquarters in New York), and four previous years at LWF Geneva (also handling international affairs advocacy). During Namibia’s transition to independence in 1989-90, Deffenbaugh served as legal adviser for the Namibian Lutheran bishops. A graduate of the University of Colorado (in Economics) and of the Harvard Law School, Deffenbaugh is licensed to practice law in Colorado. He is married to Miriam Boraas Deffenbaugh; they have two adult children.

Thurber Lectures is an adult community gathering and growth time that is open to all.