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Refuge for Refugees Ministry

Refuge for Refugees

refugee-logo-8x10This ministry – affectionately called R4R – assists families who have been granted refugee status as they resettle in our community.

What is a refugee? The US Refugee Act of 1980 adopted the United Nations definition of a refugee as “a person with a well-founded fear of persecutions for reasons of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.”

Every year, thousands of refugees find a home in the United States. In 2021, North Carolina was ranked 6th among states accepting the most refugees for resettlement. Non-government agencies in the Triangle receive names of refugees from the Department of Homeland Security. These agencies are then charged with the tasks of finding a home for the refugee, connecting the refugee to English classes (if needed), and assisting the refugee in finding a job.

Generally, refugees have fled their country of origin to a relatively safe neighboring country or refugee camp. They apply to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for protection and resettlement. The UNHCR distributes the names of qualified refugees to countries such as the United States. For names referred to the United States, a case file is started, and the Department of Homeland Security determines the legitimacy of the refugee status and then refers the names of such vetted individuals to one of nine agencies. This refugee journey can take up to ten years from the time they leave their country to the time they arrive in the United States.

Currently working with the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants-North Carolina (USCRI-NC), St. Paul’s has provided support to more than nine refugee families since the ministry began in 2016.

Current Needs (list updated July 29, 2023):

  • We are looking for a car (2009-2010)  to purchase for one of the refugees resettled from Afghanistan. He is employed by Lutheran Services Carolina as the Afghan Integration Specialist.
  • We are looking for a good vacuum cleaner for one or our families from El Salvador.
  • One of the big tasks ahead is finding meaningful employment for a man with a degree in architecture and experience in construction design/management, and a woman with a degree in international marketing with experience in office administration. Both are working toward proficiency in English, with Spanish their primary language. If you have ideas about job leads for either person, or if you have interest in helping us build a network for finding work for them, please contact Glenda Swann (swann.glenda@gmail.com).

Other ways the St. Paul’s Community can help refugees:

  • Be a part of the welcoming committee at the airport or the first day of settling into an apartment.
  • Get involved with the family by mentoring, providing transportation, shopping, teaching English.
  • Make financial donations directly to R4R.
  • Engage in positive conversations about this important ministry with friends outside of St. Paul’s.

If you are interested in “hands on” outreach through working with refugee resettlement, please contact Ann Lockhart (annlockhart1@gmail.com) or Glenda Swann (swann.glenda@gmail.com), R4R Co-leaders.


Read more about the history of the Refuge for Refugees Ministry:
Letter in Support of Immigrants and Refugees (posted Feb 21, 2017)
A Word About Refugees (posted Feb 1, 2017)
Welcome Party for Refugee Family (Feb 26, 2017)
New Refugee Family from Somalia (Nov 16, 2016).
Refugee Welcome Home Party (Sep 25, 2016).
Refuge for Refugees Update (Sep 3, 2016).
Refugee Family Update (July 28, 2016).
Refuge for Refugees Ministry to Sponsor Second Family (Jun 25, 2016).
Refugee Family from Afghanistan to Arrive Feb 26, 2016
Refugee Ministry update (Mar 10, 2016).