Sacred Responsibility: An Interfaith Conversation about Immigration and Sanctuary

Presented by The Oreck-Alpern Interreligious Forum

What role does migration play in our sacred narratives? Is the image of sanctuary common across faith traditions? How is a migrating person or refugee to be treated, according to spiritual authorities, and when or how does someone become integrated into a community? Catholic, Muslim, Protestant, Jewish, and Anishinaabe spiritual and community leaders come together to discuss these matters.

Thursday, October 11, 7 p.m.
Peace Church
1111 E. 11th St., Duluth
Free and open to all, with refreshments and childcare. For childcare, please contact Elyse Carter Vosen at or (218) 723-6446 and she will arrange for it at Peace Church.


Yusuf Abdi, Director of Refugee Services, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (Minneapolis)

Portrait of Yusuf AbdiYusuf Abdi is Program Director of Refugee Services for Lutheran Social Service (LSS) of Minnesota, which provides resettlement assistance for up to 90 days after a family’s arrival in the U.S. Yusuf and his team guide refugees as they complete work permits, find employment, enroll in school, navigate transportation and orient to culture and life in Minnesota. Yusuf is a member of LSS’s anti-racism taskforce, and serves on the MN Board of Immigration Appeals. Yusuf volunteers for a number of service organizations and speaks to high school faculty, graduate students, healthcare providers and civic organizations to strengthen understanding of refugee resettlement, the basic tenets of Islam, Somali culture, and diversity. Yusuf graduated from NDSU with a B.S. in Business Administration and Computer Science.

Rick DeFoe, Anishinaabe Elder, Past Chair of Duluth Indigenous Commission (Duluth)

Rick DeFoe speaking at a conferenceRick DeFoe was born in 1959 on the Fond du Lac Reservation. He graduated from Flandreau Indian School, a Federal Boarding School in 1976. Rick, a resident of Duluth for 35 years, is a retired Journeyman Ironworker. He served on the City of Duluth's Indigenous Commission for eight years, including four as Chair, as Co-Chair of the Oversight Committee of the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative to reduce racial disparities and as Cultural Coordinator for NE Regional Corrections and the Mashkawizin Treatment Center. Rick is a pipe carrier and Ojibwe Language instructor, facilitating a weekly language table at the American Indian Community Housing Center (AICHO). Rick is recently married, has two children and five grandchildren. He was also a member of the Witness for Peace delegation from Duluth to work with indigenous activists in Honduras in 2016.

Rev. Charlotte Frantz, Sanctuary Congregation Team, Peace United Church of Christ (Duluth)

Rev. Charlotte Frantz speaking at a podiumReverend Charlotte Frantz is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, a mainline, progressive, Christian denomination. Rev. Charlotte served as pastor at Pilgrim Congregational Church from 2002-2014 and currently is the transitional pastor at United Presbyterian Church in Superior. A member of Peace Church, she serves the Sanctuary Leadership Team and is an active member of the Dismantling Racism team. Rev. Charlotte has facilitated “Cracking the Shell of Whiteness” classes at UMD’s University for Seniors. During her more than 40-year career she served congregations in Indiana, Montana, Iowa and Minnesota. Rev. Charlotte  grew up near Pittsburgh, studied theology as an undergraduate at Valparaiso University in Indiana and graduated from Eden Theological Seminary near St. Louis in 1975. Rev. Charlotte currently lives in Duluth and has one son.

Catalina Morales Bahena, Immigration Organizer, ISAIAH (St. Paul)

Catalina Morales de Sanchez speaking at a conferenceCatalina Morales Bahena was raised in Waukegan, IL, having immigrated to the United States from Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico with her parents and two older sisters. Catalina has lived in the United States since 1993 and was undocumented until she was granted DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status in 2013. Catalina is currently Immigration Organizer for ISAIAH, a faith-based coalition of over one hundred congregations that work toward racial and economic equity in the state of Minnesota. ISAIAH works to align faith values with principles of democracy as it strives for equity in areas of community health, education, employment, transportation and housing. Last year, Catalina led the successful campaign to create an immigrant legal defense fund in Hennepin County. She also serves on the National Steering Committee of LA RED, a national program that leads to shape federal immigration policies.

Rabbi David Steinberg, Rabbi, Temple Israel (Duluth)

Portrait of Rabbi SteinbergRabbi David Steinberg has served as spiritual leader of Temple Israel since August 2010. A native of New York City, Rabbi David earned a B.A. in Music from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. After four years as a practicing attorney in Portland, Maine, he left law to study at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where he was ordained in 1997 in a class that also included his predecessor at Temple Israel, Rabbi Amy Bernstein. Prior to arriving in Duluth, he served congregations in Chambersburg, PA, Plattsburgh, NY and Burlington, VT. Rabbi David serves on the Board of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. He is also a member of the Minnesota Rabbinical Association and of the Advisory Council to the Interreligious Forum at St. Scholastica, and works closely with CHUM clergy in Duluth. 

The Oreck-Alpern Interreligious Forum promotes respect, understanding, and peace among the diverse spiritual communities of our region through sustained cross-cultural dialogue, shared study, and collaborative projects and events.

Contact Us

Elyse Carter Vosen, Ph.D.

1200 Kenwood Avenue
Duluth, MN 55811
(218) 723-6446



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