Past RRM Events

Refugee Resettlement Ministry extends global hospitality

‘Been reading about the world refugee crisis? Want to do something to help? You can.

A group of parishioners has been meeting for the past several months to brainstorm and connect with like-minded people and organizations with the goal of supporting the resettlement of individuals and families displaced by war. Having received Vestry approval for the expenditure of funds, and with the additional pledge of support from our Community Engagement Committee (formerly called Outreach), we are part of a coalition of local churches helping to facilitate the resettlement of a young Syrian woman, who arrives from Syria in August. She will be attending LaSalle University on a student visa. We also hope support the resettlement of a family some time in the coming year. We have a strong working group but we welcome others to join us in this important ministry. Interested? Contact Marie Ford: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Learning about Syrian culture in preparation for the Dahans’ arrival

Marketplace in Damascus. By Mercy Corps

December 8, 2016

On Wednesday, December 14th, the Dahan family of 4 will arrive at Philadelphia International Airport and be whisked to their temporary home in Mt. Airy. At this point, we have little information, except their names and ages:

    Sameer: 40 years old, has worked as a tailor and in a Sweet Shop; Sameer’s wife, Majidah: 26 years old; Ayman: Son, 7 years old, and Iman, daughter, 1 year old. We understand they are Muslim and that their primary language is Arabic.

At a recent meeting of the Refugee Resettlement Ministry, we got a peek into the culture and traditions of Syrian people from our Bethany caseworker, Mohammad Obaid. Here are a few gleanings about the culture from

    Men and women socialize separately except on occasions when the whole family is involved. In social interactions, people stand close together, speak loudly, and gesture widely with their hands and heads. Greetings hold great social significance. They are often lengthy, including questions about health. They usually are accompanied by a handshake and sometimes by a hug and a kiss on each cheek. Placing the right hand on the heart when meeting someone is a signal of affection.
    Syrians are very affectionate people. Men walk linking arms or holding hands and hug and kiss a great deal, as do women. Close physical contact in public is more common between people of the same gender than it is between girlfriend and boyfriend or husband and wife.

From Mercy Corps

New Refugee Family to Be Hosted by St. Martin’s!

Syrian Refugees. Kaigner, 2016.

Update December 1, 2016

As it is with supporting refugees, arrangements have changed. We will no longer be hosting the 13-member Lubanda family from the Congo, and have now opened ourselves to hosting a new family! The Dahan family, Sameer and Majidah along with their son Ayman and daughter Iman, are expected to join us from Syria on December 14.

Thousands of Syrians, like members of the Dahan family flee their country every day. They often decide to finally escape after seeing their neighborhoods bombed or family members killed. The risks on the journey to the border can be as high as staying: Families walk for miles through the night to avoid being shot at by snipers or being caught by warring parties who will kidnap young men to fight for their cause.

According to the U.N., about 11 million Syrians have been displaced from their homes - enough people to fill roughly 200 Yankee Stadiums. This includes about 4.8 million refugees who have been forced to seek safety in neighboring countries.

We thank everyone who has worked very hard toward the anticipated arrival of the Lubandas. We appreciate that so much is now in place for this new family because of those efforts. Please stay tuned for more information from St. Martin’s Refugee Resettlement Committee about how you can help the Dahans.

What happened to the Lubandas?

December 8, 2016

Here is the context that determines their circumstances. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated by its Statute and the UN General Assembly Resolutions to undertake resettlement as one of the three durable solutions. Of the 14.4 million refugees of concern to UNHCR around the world, less than one percent is submitted for resettlement.

In 2015, UNHCR submitted the files of over 134,000 refugees for consideration by resettlement countries. Bethany Christian Services and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (our partners) are authorized by the federal government to resettle refugees. However, they do not have access to the UNHCR refugee files nor are they privy to how many refugees the UNHCR is attempting to resettle in the US at any given time. Therefore when the Lubandas were moved off the UNHCR resettlement list, we were not given any information as to why they were moved, where they are or how long the wait will be until they are once again back on the list for travel. This is why we decided to go ahead say yes to another family on the list. We are still praying for the Lubandas, that they may have the opportunity they have been waiting and hoping for.
Visit the UNHCR website to learn more.

Learn More

Meet the Lubandas
Learn a few basic Swahili phrases

Lafoi Waterfalls, Congo - fundraiser ad

Join us for

Beer, Beauty, and the Buffalo Bills of Kinshasa: What’s Brewing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

or a Laid-Back Fundraiser with Lots About the Congolese Culture.

Wednesday, November 16, 7-8:30 p.m.
Friday, November 25, 6:30-7:45 p.m.
St. Martin’s Parish Hall

Enjoy Congolese and Rwandan beer and learn some inspiring, funny, and gut-wrenching dimensions of the history, culture, language, and geography of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the area we believe to be the home of our refugee family: the Lubandas. You’ll also hear from folks with real experience and expertise about the larger Congo, central Africa, and specifically the eastern Congo and Rwandan border areas. Financial contributions will help pay for food and housing for the Lubandas until they can be self supporting.

RSVP Today!

For more information contact Hal Taussig at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 215-242-0611 (h), or 215-290-4843 (c).

When Syria Became Our Home

On November 13, 2016 at 2 p.m.

Our Mother of Consolation Parish Hall

11 E. Chestnut Hill Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19118

The Peace and Justice Committee of Our Mother of Consolation (OMC) cordially invites you to attend a presentation by Theresa Kubasak and Gabe Huck, founders of the Iraqi Student Project (ISP) (, who are now assisting Syrian students get an education. OMC has joined with other area congregations (including St. Martin’s) in an ecumenical effort to sponsor one of those students, Samra, who started attending LaSalle University this fall. Theresa and Gabe’s recently published memoir will serve as the basis of the basis of their talk, stemming from their time spent in Syria, 2005-2012, working on the project and imbibing the culture and history of the country. Last summer Just World Books published their memoir telling of seven years living in Damascus. Theresa and Gabe studied Arabic, then for five years worked with Iraqi students, refugees in Syria, who were longing for a college education. Theresa and Gabe are working now with Syrian refugee youth. Two of their students are here in Philadelphia. Mohamad is in 11th grade at Friends-Select School. Samra is a first-year student at LaSalle University.

Come join us as we learn how, amidst the pressing tragedies that surrounded them, Theresa and Gabe found in Damascus a world of immense depth. OMC welcomes Theresa and Gabe. Their book will be available for those interested in learning more.

Seeking House for Congolese Refugee Family

Update: November 1, 2016

Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Chestnut Hill is sponsoring a 13-member Congolese refugee family. We seek a house, perhaps a church out-building not currently in use, or another building you know of. It must be near public transit. 6 adults in the family could work for rent, under the supervision of St. Martin’s parish members, to improve the building. They have furniture and all other household goods. Any suggestions are welcome as we have only 60 days to find a house. Please contact Marnie Kerr, Chair of St. Martin’s Refugee Resettlement Ministry: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 215.242.8323.

Refugee Resettlement Ministry launches with a WOW!

Update: October 10, 2016

On Friday, October 7th parishioners and friends helped Jarrett Kerbel celebrate his 50th birthday and raised $4,360 toward the Refugee Resettlement Ministry, thanks to the generosity of partygoers.

And on Sunday morning, 71 people packed the Parish Hall to hear about the ministry, its goals, and the Lubanda family – all 13 of them – due to arrive sometime in the next several months after living in a Rwandan refugee camp. We even received a brief lesson in Swahili! The energy and spirit in response to news of the ministry were palpable.

Those attending the Forum were invited to volunteer on any one of eleven teams that have been created to support the family’s transition to life in Philadelphia.

If you’ve already donated time or material goods, please document your gift and/or time by signing the log for Bethany Christian Ministries below. Your doing so will help them attract more grant funding to support this important work.

Stay tuned for news of the Lubanda’s arrival!

A Chance to Protect Refugees

After fleeing the unimaginable hardships that forced them from their homes, refugees arrive in the United States with hearts full of hope. Refugees, asylum-seekers, and other vulnerable populations desire new lives of prosperity that are free of fear. As one former refugee explains, “We long to belong; we long to grow where we are planted.”

Once passed, the recently introduced Refugee Protection Act of 2016 will enable those desires to become reality. This bi-cameral legislation, introduced by Senator Leahy (D-VT) and Congresswoman Lofgren (D-CA), will ensure that the United States remains a leader in the international effort to offer new lives and robust protection for refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, and other vulnerable migrants. You can help by contacting your Members of Congress today to let them know you believe in increasing protections for refugees and asylum seekers.

Read more about the immediate actions you can take to help in this article from our partners in the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS).

Who do you see when you hear “immigrant?”

St. Martin’s parishioners are part of this vox pop video that pairs haunting portraits of Ellis Island immigrants with personal impressions and experiences of immigration and refugee resettlement. It’s less than 3 minutes in length. Be sure to turn up your speakers!

When you hear "immigrant," who do you see? from Barbara Dundon on Vimeo.

Regular Sunday Schedule

8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
9:15 a.m. worship.together (Eucharist for preschool families)
9:15 a.m. Parish Forum & Christian Education (Kairos)
10:30 a.m. Choral Eucharist

Other Days

Morning prayer is offered at 7:30 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.

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

Mid-week Eucharist is offered at 12:15 p.m. Wednesdays, in the Mary Chapel.

Compline is offered at 7:00 p.m. on 2nd & 4th Wednesdays, in the Church.

Choral Evensong is offered at 5:00 p.m. on 1st Sundays, Oct.-June, in the Church.

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.

View Larger Map