St. Paul's, Cary, Helps Families Start Again
As we have all sheltered in place these past two months, the word refuge may take on a new meaning for us. The places where we have sought refuge from the pandemic have been sanctuaries from illness and harm. For the Refuge for Refugees Ministry (R4R) at St. Paul’s, Cary, the word refuge means so much more. It means providing safety and protection for families who have been forced out of their home countries and where it is no longer safe for them to return.
St. Paul’s has helped resettle six refugee families through the U.S. Committee of Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) since 2016. They are currently supporting four families in the Cary area. With a team of more than 120 volunteers from the parish, the R4R ministry helps the families with housing, food, transportation, school and health concerns. They assist the families in navigating a new country with a new language and many new customs. The goal is to help the families become self-sufficient within six months of arriving in the US. The outcome has been so much more: new friendships and concrete ways of loving neighbors and showing God’s love.
Mary Marsha Cupitt, the chair of the R4R committee, said that the shelter in place restrictions have placed extra burdens on all the refugee families but most are doing well with support from the parish. One family has lost their income due to the economic shut-down, but the parish is stepping in with extra support. Parishioners have donated tablets and computers for online schooling needs and helping the families with unemployment, food stamps, and tax refund paperwork. The Episcopal Housing Ministry is also assisting.
In the video below, Rukhsara Fahtimi, a refugee from Afghanistan, explains how her new life in the U.S. has helped her and her family feel safe and live without fear. Thanks be to God.
By Leah Dail, diocesan assistant youth missioner