Refugee Ministries

Refugee Ministries creates meaningful supportive, relationships between parishioners and our families who have come to the United States fleeing war. We work with 25 families from the Congo/Rwanda, Burundi/Tanzania, Bhutan/Nepal, Burma/Malaysia, Afghanistan/Iran, Sudan/Pakistan and Syria in addition to hosting a new resettlement family every year. Our families are among the 1% of 20 million refugees who are lucky enough to get resettled to a third country (the U.S) where they stop being refugees and become permanent residents the minute they step off the plane.

In mid-October every year, All Saints’ furnishes an apartment entirely from donations from the parish. Having a warm, loving place to come home to can help a family heal from the trauma of loss and fear. Most families have no resources of any kind beyond their suitcase when they step off the plane. The federal government provides $950 per member of the family one time and that covers all expenses including rent, utilities, phone etc. for the first three months. Families without church sponsors (most families) have the money for furniture also taken out of this fund. All Saints’ offers a much nicer home than those limited funds can provide.

All Saints’ greets our new family at the airport with welcome signs and gifts and then begins the process of intensively helping them for the first three months which is our official co-sponsorship with our refugee agency, New American Pathways. During this time, when they are acclimating to a new culture and awaiting job placement and school registration, we try to provide them with as many services as possible including English tutoring, help grocery shopping, learning how to use the laundromat, navigating MARTA and more.

Although it is true that families are lucky to be placed in a third country after an average stay of ten years in a refugee camp and an average application process of seven years, it doesn’t mean that life is easy when they get here. Family, friends, culture, language and all that is familiar have been left behind, and our friends, often with no English language skills and no access to expensive and hard to obtain translation services must navigate medical, social service, immigration and employment bureaucracies that they depend on for their survival. Often these services remain inaccessible without our help.

We also offer support to families that face specific types of obstacles such as LGBT refugees, families in single parent households, and families with medical emergencies and disabilities.

You can donate to Refugee Ministries online (click here). Select “Please Direct My Donation to Refugee Ministries.” 100% of your gift goes directly to refugee families to do a world of good including purchasing MARTA cards so families can attend English glasses, purchasing eye glasses for young adults without Medicaid, helping the victims of domestic violence protect their children and start new lives, offering outings to families to recover from trauma and feel a part of life in the United States and much more.

To learn more about the services Refugee Ministries offers, contact Louisa Merchant at louisam@allsaintsatlanta.org or 404-403-5908. You can also follow our Facebook page: All Saints’ Refugee Ministries

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