Launched 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.
There was no break in activity for the Refugee Resettlement Ministry ths summer, assisting with healthcare needs, transporation, and ongoing English language learning. Susan MacBride led a group of about seven drivers. Lyn Buchheit has put terrific energy into building a relationship with GROW Northeast, an organization providing English as a Second Language training. Our translators, especially Atom Kabush, have continued to be indespensible resources all along the way for both language and cultural translation.
One may not consider how many everyday tasks are complicated by changing countries. Kathy DiPangrazio has spent time helping Sameer and Majidah to understand American cooking measurements. A wonderful new volunteer, Elie Atalla, is assisting the Dahans with financial planning and the transition into American culture and expectations. Special trips to museums, parks, etc. have been orchestrated by Catherine Martin and Amanda Moseley so the family can acclimate to the city and make friends.
The ministry has also begun to expand its efforts beyond the Dahans. We are helping a Palestinian family, the Sakhninis - husband, wife, and 8 month old son - who just arrived 5 weeks ago. We have aligned ourselves with the All Saints Episcopal Church in the Northeast to collect winter clothing for them, and to network in search of a job for Fouad.
This fall, the Refugee Resettlment Ministry is considering the impact of the sudden capping of immigration on our partner, Bethany Christian Services. They’ve had to layoff staff and struggling to maintain their services to refugees and the churches who sponsor them. How we move forward is the subject of our next ministry meeting in mid September, 2017.
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…
Philadelphia Inquirer, February 9, 2017
Chestnut Hill Local, February 8, 2017
Chestnut Hill Local, February 2, 2017
NBC 10 News, January 29, 2017
*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.
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.
Looking for an old notice about our ministry? Click here.
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
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
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.