2018 Craigville Theological Colloquy
Keynote Speaker: Ms. Linda Hartke
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service welcomed Linda Hartke as president and CEO in 2010. Linda brings decades of experience in human rights work and a lifelong commitment to LIRS’s core values.
As president and CEO, Linda oversees the direction and growth of LIRS and serves as an ex-‐officio member of the board of directors. Linda has broadened LIRS’s reach to transform the lives of newcomers and the individuals who stand alongside them. Under her leadership, LIRS has impacted major federal policies on immigration, grown the culture of welcome in American communities, and strengthened the participation of Lutherans and new Americans in volunteer and advocacy roles. Financial support has dramatically increased and diversified, and the programmatic reach of LIRS has expanded.
Linda’s leadership experience is exemplified by her previous role as the executive director of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, a global network of churches and agencies engaged in advocacy. Her expertise on migrant issues comes from serving as chief of staff to former US Representative Chet Atkins (D–MA), where she worked on issues affecting the Southeast Asian refugee community. Her passion for serving vulnerable migrants continued after her time on Capitol Hill, first as country director for Church World Service, in Cambodia, and then as director of programs and operations at their New York headquarters.
Linda’s strategic vision for LIRS is to be a catalyst in creating communities of welcome where newcomers can thrive. LIRS strives to ensure that new Americans receive the “long welcome”—that they are not only protected in their new communities, but are also embraced.
An active Lutheran, Linda is a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Baltimore and serves on the boards of several faith-‐based and advocacy organizations.
More info: Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service
– – – – –
Bible Reflector: The Rev. Dr. Mar Imsong
The Reverend Dr. Mar Imsong serves as the Executive Director of Massachusetts Baptist Multicultural Ministries. He was born in Nagaland, a state in northeast India. Mar sees his life of faith as a direct product of the efforts of American Baptist missionaries . Following studies in India, Rev. Imsong received a doctoral degree (Th.D.) in Social Ethics from Boston University School of Theology.
Prior to coming to the United States, Rev. Imsong worked in the Student Christian Movement of India, sensitizing people to and advocating for, justice and human rights for the poor and marginalized in India. He also taught Christian Theology at Oriental Theological Seminary in Dimapur (Nagaland), and at Bishop’s College in Kolkata in India. He has authored several journal articles, and a book, God-Land-People: An Ethnic Naga Identity. His scholarly interest includes contemporary issues and the intersections of culture and theology.
An ordained American Baptist minister, Mar served in pastoral positions at First Baptist Lynn, and First Baptist Church Bedford, Massachusetts. His heart and experience led him to became an advocate for immigrant pastors seeking ordination, which is a process with many challenges and problems. His efforts also recognized and celebrated the cultural and ethnic diversity present today in the American Baptist Churches, USA.
In May 2010, Mar joined with a few church leaders (lay and ordained), who were passionate about multicultural ministries in the region. These efforts led to establishing the Massachusetts Baptist Multicultural Ministries. The vision of MBMM is Weaving God’s Love across Cultures.
Rev. Imsong defines himself as a listener, a preacher and a bridge-builder who enjoys gardening and fishing. His wife, Bendangala (Ben), who served as a co-minister with Mar, is now a homemaker. The Imsong’s have a daughter Aren, and son Stephen, who have graduated college and are employed. Their youngest son, Kirs, is studying at UMASS Amherst.