Refugee Resettlement Ministry

Online Ticketing Closed - Please Purchase at the Door Tickets are $40; $20 for Students and Seniors. Cash or Check only at the door.

Bright Colors on a Dark Canvas concert to benefit the Refugee Resettlement Ministry on Sat., May 13 at 7 pm.

Online Ticketing Closed - Please Purchase at the Door

Tickets are $40; $20 for Students and Seniors. Cash or Check only at the door.

Four-time Grammy winner Eugene Friesen is bringing four internationally renowned Near Eastern musicians to Chestnut Hill’s Episcopal Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields (St. Martin’s) for a one-night concert on Saturday, May 13 at 7 p.m. The concert will feature the new composition of Palestinian cellist, Naseem Alatrash, “Bright Colors on a Dark Canvas,” and all proceeds will go to the Refugee Resettlement Ministry at the church.

The collaboration between Friesen and Alatrash includes Jordanian-Iraqi violinist Layth Sidiq, Syrian oudist Kinan Idnawi, Palestinian kanunist Tony Barhoum, and award-winning jazz pianist Joel A. Martin. The Chestnut Hill church has partnered with nearby St. Paul’s Episcopal and New Covenant Church in its support of a Syrian refugee family. Read More…

Interview with Cellist Naseem Alatrash

St. Martin's Refugee Resettlement Ministry logoLaunched in 2016, the Refugee Resettlement Ministry at St. Martin’s was created out of concern by several members of the parish about the global refugee crisis, particularly coming out of Syria. St. Martin’s Refugee Resettlement Ministry joins with leaders of faith communities, secular organizations, and citizens in the Philadelphia area to resettle refugees in a safe, secure, and welcoming environment. We resettle refugees as guided by the Bible, “The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the stranger as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” – Leviticus 19:34.

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April 3, 2017

Refugee Resettlement: Bringing the Dahans Home from Barbara Dundon on Vimeo.

On the night of December 14th, Pam Prell sat in her minivan in the cellphone parking lot at Philadelphia International Airport, waiting for the arrival of the Dahans, a family of four, refugees from the war in Syria. As a representative of the Refugee Resettlement Ministry at the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, she’d signed on to drive Sameer, Majidah, eight-year-old Ayman and Iman, almost two, to temporary housing the church had found in Mt. Airy. This story, told in images and music, documents the family’s first 90-days in the city they now call home.

March 22, 2017

Three generations of volunteers move the Dahan family to their new home

Images from moving day with the Dahans - loading the UHaul, Majidah with a gift of flowers, the family in front of their new home, removing a dresser from the old apartment, and a group photo of the whole crew that helped out that day.

Three generations of St. Martin’s parishioners, joined by Refugee Resettlement members from St. Paul’s in Chestnut Hill, helped the Dahans’ move from their temporary housing in Mt. Airy to their new home in Northeast Philadelphia seem effortless. Some hefted boxes and furniture to the waiting U-Haul truck. Others shoveled snow so movers wouldn’t slip on icy sidewalks. Still others drove unused donations of clothes and housewares to Goodwill. What was scheduled to last five hours took just over three.

The Dahans, who immigrated to the U.S. from Syria just before Christmas, are now settled into an apartment complex on Woodland Avenue close to a mosque and halal market. The nearby K-5 elementary school that eight-year-old Ayman will attend even has a counselor who speaks Arabic. When parishioners left, Majidah was unloading pots and pans and distributing dates and hard candies to volunteers in appreciation for all the hard work on the family’s behalf.

While family members are still learning English, we heard the word “thank you” many times on Saturday morning.

February 24, 2017

Good news about the Dahans!

Prayers are being answered in our support of the Dahan family:

    Sameer procured a full time job at the Trolley Car Diner, baking his fabulous desserts. Support him by buying his delicious baklava and other Syrian specialties or by ordering them through the Trolley Car.
    The family will be moving shortly to an apartment complex in Northeast Philadelphia, where Ayman will be able to go to one of the best public schools in the Northeast, with ESL for Arabic speakers. Hats off to parishioner Brian Regli, who made this apartment available to them!

How you can help the Dahan family feel settled in their new home

The Dahans, originally from Syria, arrived in Philadelphia a few days before Christmas. In just a few months’ time they have fully furnished housing; are learning about American currency and how to shop at grocery stores; are beginning to speak English, thanks to ESL (English as a Second Language) interpreters arriving at their house 6 days a week. The list goes on.

So much of what we’ve accomplished has to do with relationships and partnerships. Parishioners at St. Paul’s in Chestnut Hill, Jake and Betsy Roak and Sue Proud, have been active partners with us. They continue to work with us even now that the Mwajumas, a family from the Congo which St. Paul’s is hosting, has arrived. Cynthia Echewa from New Covenant Church has continued on our medical team, while New Covenant also supports St. Paul’s ministry. If one of us can’t help, we find someone who can and they generously join our helping network.

Please scan this list to see what way/s you might be part of the Dahans’ transition team, helping them become independent.

Supporting the family’s health
Like any family with young children, the Dahans need medical support. Einstein Medical Center, on Old York Road, has an excellent clinic for refugees. Young Ayman has particular health challenges that require frequent check-ups. We are looking for:

    * People to drive family members to the clinic for periodic screenings and doctor visits.

Contact: Susan MacBride at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Introducing the family to our city’s people and cultural treasures
An important aspect of resettlement is “social integration”— introducing Sameer, Majidah, Ayman and Iman to the treasures and amenities of our wonderful city. Visits to the Arboretum or the Franklin Institute, for example, are fun, instructive and virtually free for the family, thanks to “access passes” through Art-Reach Philadelphia. We are looking for:

    * Friendly guides to drive and accompany family members to fun outings and take a photo or two on the visit to share with the parish community.
    * How about arranging some teas with the Dahans and 5-6 adults and children to meet at St. Martin’s about 4:00 p.m., after children are out of school?

The Dahans are a lovely family with two adorable children. You’ll enjoy your time with them and they will be immensely grateful!
Contact: Catherine Martin at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Amanda Moseley at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Syrian refugee family finds sweeter life at Mount Airy diner

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 9, 2017

Hill churches and residents aid refugee resettlement

Chestnut Hill Local, February 8, 2017

Refugees Welcome Here: NW residents mobilize

Chestnut Hill Local, February 2, 2017

Epiphany Newsletter article about the Dahan’s arrival

December, 2016

NBC 10 News, January 29, 2017

UNHCR Facts Sheet

The UN Refugee Agency

Additional Ways to Help and Learn More

Do Your Speak Arabic and/or Teach ESL?

    The Dahan family speaks Arabic, and are quickly picking up English thanks to ESL volunteers. If you or someone you know speaks Arabic or can teach English as a second language, please email Hal Taussig at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). We will add you to our list of translators/interpreters or teachers who can assist them in learning English.

Can You Drive?

    Would you be willing to be available to transport the family at times, e.g., for medical appointments, to buy groceries, to look at new apartments, etc.? If so, please email Susan Cole at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). We will add you to our list of drivers. Of course, it will up to you to say yes or no to specific transportation needs.

Pray Unceasingly

    We also appreciate your prayers for this ministry. Please keep the Dahans, the Mwajumas, Samra, the Syrian college student, Mohamad, the Syrian high school student, our partners at Bethany Christian Services, St. Paul’s Episcopal, New Covenant Church, Trolley Car Diner, and all the members of St. Martin’s Refugee Resettlement Committee in your prayers.


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*Your generosity has outstripped our ability to record it. Bethany requires that we submit monthly logs of service and donations by volunteers. This is crucial to their grant writing for funding. Please enter information in the Google Sheets log below. For all the outpouring of your generosity in the past and future, thank you so much. - Marnie Kerr, chair.

Please sign this log.

Download a donation receipt for your tax purposes.


With deep gratitude for the generosity of our parish community and our Refugee Resettlement Ministry we are happy to share that St. Martin’s is sponsoring a Syrian student named Samra who is currently attending LaSalle University. Our Community Engagement Committee, with the approval of the Vestry, made an $8,000 contribution toward her college tuition for 2016-2017 which will allow her to get an H-1 Student Visa and continue her education. Samra has a personal story that is full of resourcefulness in her long journey from Homs, Syria, through Beirut, Lebanon, to Turkey where she now resides. We will keep you informed about her progress and other opportunities to support her. Please see the “Friends of Samra” Facebook page as one source of information.


Mohamad is a 17-year-old Syrian high school student who is living with one of St. Martin’s parishioners in order to attend a local high school. Mohamad and his mother fled Homs when he was 14, and though he did not attend school until the fall of 2015 when he enrolled in a private school for Syrian refugees in Istanbul, he is very bright. Donors from the UK have paid his tuition because they have noticed he is gifted. Although he missed several years of formal education, Mohamad is wise, well-read and articulate. When he took the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) he scored way above the 80 required for La Salle University: 106. He’s also a typical 17 year old: at times he seems like a huge Irish setter puppy, especially when he is feeling joyful and childlike. Other times he is serious, like Portrait of the Artist as a young man. Thanks to the support of the Refugee Resettlement Ministry and the broader St. Martin’s community, we have been able to support Mohamad with necessary school supplies, medical care, and a caring home to return to each day.

Past Events

Looking for an old notice about our ministry? Click here.

Supporting Partners

New Covenant Church
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Trolley Car Diner


We greatly thank you for your ongoing support of this ministry and for refugees around the world.

St. Martin’s Refugee Resettlement Committee
Susan Cole
Krys Cooper
Myah Cooper
Barbara Dundon
Marie Ford
Mary Hopkins
Marnie Kerr
Liz Langemak
Denis Lucey
Susan MacBride
Catherine Martin
Kate Maus
Amanda Moseley
Teresa Parris
Pam Prell
Rebecca Reumann-Moore
Scott Robinson
Jim Sicks
Jocelyn Sivelingam
Hal Taussig
Leni Windle
Hyacinth Wood

Summer Sunday Service Schedule: Through September 17, 2017

8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist with music

Regular Sunday Service Schedule: Returns September 24, 2017

8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
9:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist with music
10:00 a.m. Parish Forum & Kairos
10:15 a.m. worship.together
Holy Eucharist for families with young children
11:15 a.m. Choral Eucharist

Other Days

Silent morning meditation is offered at 8:15 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.

We would love to have you join us.


This Episcopal church is located in the heart of the historic neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, five blocks west of Germantown Avenue at the corner of St. Martin’s Lane and West Willow Grove Avenue.

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