WASHINGTON, D.C. — Emily Escobar has joined the General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) as a Grassroots Organizer focused on advocating for the policy positions of The United Methodist Church regarding immigration. Escobar will focus primarily on Congress and the administration, and communicating these positions to grassroots teams and congregations.
Escobar reports to Bill Mefford, director of Civil & Human Rights. A key element of her new role is to develop grassroots teams in Annual Conferences, strengthen current teams, and develop leaders to facilitate team growth in mobilizing within conferences.
Escobar hopes that as a grassroots organizer she will continue to answer her calling to advocate for justice, both inside and outside The United Methodist Church.
“My work experience has helped me to reconnect with the origins of my pueblo, understand the system that oppresses God’s people and find creative ways to work towards the betterment of my community,” Escobar said. “That is why I am thrilled to be part of GBCS, a place where I can work directly on issues that affect my pueblo.”
Global, community engagement
Escobar, born and raised in El Salvador, came to the United States when she was 15 with her parents, a sister and two brothers. She recently graduated with a Masters of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology. She is in the ordination process to become a deacon.
Her research focused on issues such as immigration, health and contextual theologies.
At Boston University, Escobar’s study had an emphasis in Global & Community Engagement. Her research focused on issues such as immigration, health and contextual theologies.
At the University of Rhode Island, Escobar worked on a double major in Biology and Spanish, with a concentration in Latin American Studies.
United Methodist Church experience
Escobar has worked within The United Methodist Church as chair of the Latino Youth Northeastern Coalition (LYNC) and as a member of the executive committee of Methodist Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic Americans (MARCHA). She served as chair of the youth/young adult component with MARCHA, an official United Methodist caucus.
For three years, Escobar worked as the coordinator for Hispanic/Latino Ministries of the New England Conference, where her father, Santos Escobar, is pastor of Vida Abundante United Methodist Church, in Providence, R.I.
Escobar is a graduate of the Hispanic Youth Leadership Academy (HYLA) at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas. As a member of both MARCHA and HYLA she has experience working with the denomination’s general agencies, such as Higher Education & Ministry and Global Ministries.
In 2011, Escobar participated in the Ethnic Minority Young Adult Summer Internship at the General Board of Church & Society. She worked as an intern with Christians for Middle East Peace that summer.
Advocate for justice
Escobar said the U.S. immigration system has touched her personally. “I have experienced the deportation of various members of my church in Providence, R.I.,” she said.
Emphasis will be placed on finding churches and ministries in Annual Conferences incarnated among immigrant communities focused on the issue of immigration and building relationships with key leaders in those ministries.
An important activity will be to recruit and guide congregations through the Immigrant Welcoming Communities journey by providing resources and trainings.
The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. Prime responsibility of the board is to seek implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements on Christian social concerns of the General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & Leadership Formation, United Nations & International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the denomination. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City.