Banner.png

Saturday, September 28th, 12:30-2:30pm

at Faith Lutheran Church: 667 E 1st Ave, Chico, CA

Sacred Conversations is a forum series to explore complex issues, understand diverse perspectives, and find common values for action. Panelists are chosen not only for their personal expertise in a field, but for their willingness to to engage in respectful and productive dialogue with people of differing views.

After the forum, organizations working to address issues related immigration will be present if you would like to learn ways that you can directly be involved in assisting local immigrants, asylum seekers, and working to prevent the conditions that push people to leave their homes in other countries.

Sacred Conversations is a series inspired by Christian values, but people of all and no religious background are welcomed and encouraged to participate.

meet our panelists

Rev. Robin Denny,  Episcopal Priest  Rev. Denny is newly the rector of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Napa, California. Prior to that she served as the associate priest for Christian formation at St. Cross Episcopal Church in Hermosa Beach, California. Her church in Hermosa Beach was engaged in hosting refugees as well as a pilgrimage to the border and a youth educational program in El Salvador. Robin visited the refugee camp in Tijuana that was set up for the migrant caravan last December, and has written articles about ministry with refugees, one of which can be read  here . Robin's previous career was an agriculturalist. She worked as an agricultural missionary of the Episcopal church, living in Liberia and South Sudan, where she worked with refugees, returnees, and displaced people.

Rev. Robin Denny, Episcopal Priest

Rev. Denny is newly the rector of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Napa, California. Prior to that she served as the associate priest for Christian formation at St. Cross Episcopal Church in Hermosa Beach, California. Her church in Hermosa Beach was engaged in hosting refugees as well as a pilgrimage to the border and a youth educational program in El Salvador. Robin visited the refugee camp in Tijuana that was set up for the migrant caravan last December, and has written articles about ministry with refugees, one of which can be read here. Robin's previous career was an agriculturalist. She worked as an agricultural missionary of the Episcopal church, living in Liberia and South Sudan, where she worked with refugees, returnees, and displaced people.

Andrew Holley , Immigration Attorney  Mr. Holley was born and raised in San Francisco. As the child of an immigrant and a blue-collar worker, he learned to love and respect all ethnicities and people from all walks of life. After visiting over twenty countries and exploring the United States on his motorcycle, he returned to California to begin college.  At the University of California in Riverside, he majored in economics and minored in philosophy, making the Dean’s List many times and graduating cum laude in 2007. Before he left Riverside he created and proposed a textbook rental program to save students millions, and he started and led the school’s first economics tutoring program. He enrolled at Santa Clara University School of Law, where he was a finalist in the Galloway Moot Court Competition, he represented Santa Clara at the Ruby Vale Moot Court Competition in Delaware, and volunteered at the Immigration Clinic with the Katherine & George Alexander Law Center in downtown San Jose.  After passing the California State Bar in 2010, he practiced immigration in San Francisco under the tutelage of a respected and experienced attorney. He represented hundreds of clients on a variety of cases. He moved to Los Angeles where he ran the deportation defense department for a firm in downtown.  Andrew moved to Chico in 2014, where he took over the criminal defense department for a high-volume law firm. He also took this opportunity to start The Northern California Immigrant Resource Center in Chico, a non-profit organization designed to provide free services to immigrants.  Later in 2014 he broke off and started his own practice, focusing on the representation of immigrants in a variety of matters, including immigration, deportation, and criminal defense.

Andrew Holley, Immigration Attorney

Mr. Holley was born and raised in San Francisco. As the child of an immigrant and a blue-collar worker, he learned to love and respect all ethnicities and people from all walks of life. After visiting over twenty countries and exploring the United States on his motorcycle, he returned to California to begin college.

At the University of California in Riverside, he majored in economics and minored in philosophy, making the Dean’s List many times and graduating cum laude in 2007. Before he left Riverside he created and proposed a textbook rental program to save students millions, and he started and led the school’s first economics tutoring program. He enrolled at Santa Clara University School of Law, where he was a finalist in the Galloway Moot Court Competition, he represented Santa Clara at the Ruby Vale Moot Court Competition in Delaware, and volunteered at the Immigration Clinic with the Katherine & George Alexander Law Center in downtown San Jose.

After passing the California State Bar in 2010, he practiced immigration in San Francisco under the tutelage of a respected and experienced attorney. He represented hundreds of clients on a variety of cases. He moved to Los Angeles where he ran the deportation defense department for a firm in downtown.

Andrew moved to Chico in 2014, where he took over the criminal defense department for a high-volume law firm. He also took this opportunity to start The Northern California Immigrant Resource Center in Chico, a non-profit organization designed to provide free services to immigrants.

Later in 2014 he broke off and started his own practice, focusing on the representation of immigrants in a variety of matters, including immigration, deportation, and criminal defense.

Dr. Naomi Lazarus,  Assistant Professor of Geography and Planning  Dr. Lazarus earned her B.A. and M.A. in Geography at Binghamton University, New York and has a PhD in Geography from the University of Connecticut. Dr. Lazarus’ research examines the social dimension of natural and anthropogenic hazards. She incorporates spatial statistics and geographical information systems to develop spatial models to assess vulnerability and risk associated with environmental disasters and hazard events. Her doctoral dissertation dealt with community resilience in counties affected by the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Her other research interests include medical geography and natural resource management. Dr. Lazarus teaches courses on GIS, cartography, and quantitative methods at CSU Chico. Her approach to teaching is based on developing students’ understanding of geographical principals through case study examples, class activities, project work, and skills development. Dr. Lazarus has over eight years of work experience in her home country of Sri Lanka mainly in the private and not-for-profit sectors. She has also traveled widely and some favorite destinations include the Grand Canyon, Big Island in Hawaii, Lisbon (Portugal), and Luxor (Egypt). During her free time, she enjoys walking/hiking, yoga, and tai-chi.

Dr. Naomi Lazarus, Assistant Professor of Geography and Planning

Dr. Lazarus earned her B.A. and M.A. in Geography at Binghamton University, New York and has a PhD in Geography from the University of Connecticut. Dr. Lazarus’ research examines the social dimension of natural and anthropogenic hazards. She incorporates spatial statistics and geographical information systems to develop spatial models to assess vulnerability and risk associated with environmental disasters and hazard events. Her doctoral dissertation dealt with community resilience in counties affected by the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Her other research interests include medical geography and natural resource management. Dr. Lazarus teaches courses on GIS, cartography, and quantitative methods at CSU Chico. Her approach to teaching is based on developing students’ understanding of geographical principals through case study examples, class activities, project work, and skills development. Dr. Lazarus has over eight years of work experience in her home country of Sri Lanka mainly in the private and not-for-profit sectors. She has also traveled widely and some favorite destinations include the Grand Canyon, Big Island in Hawaii, Lisbon (Portugal), and Luxor (Egypt). During her free time, she enjoys walking/hiking, yoga, and tai-chi.

Esmane Birrueta Valencia,  Successful Asylum Seeker.  Ms. Valencia presented herself at a border checkpoint in 2014, requested asylum for herself and there three children. She hired Andrew Holley to represent her on her case in San Francisco Immigration Court, and in 2016 we won her case. Now her family all have green cards, her children are going to school, and everyone is doing well.

Esmane Birrueta Valencia, Successful Asylum Seeker.

Ms. Valencia presented herself at a border checkpoint in 2014, requested asylum for herself and there three children. She hired Andrew Holley to represent her on her case in San Francisco Immigration Court, and in 2016 we won her case. Now her family all have green cards, her children are going to school, and everyone is doing well.