Immigrant & Refugee Ministry
Supporting Immigrants & Refugees
In 2022, St. George’s partnered with Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE) to provide financial and relational support to a family from Afghanistan for six months as they transitioned to life in the US. We provided similar care for a Ukrainian family with Nashville ties when their home in Ukraine was no longer safe. We will continue to support those seeking rest and refuge in our community as needs arise.
How to help: Join a task force at St. George’s to explore long-term efforts to support immigrants and refugees.
Celebrating a Milestone of Shared Relationships
Afghan Family Sponsorship, 2022-23
St. George’s ministry with Afghan refugees was established in February 2022 when the Haidari family of six arrived in Nashville. Under joint sponsorship with NICE (Nashville International Center for Empowerment), our team of nine parishioners, all with different backgrounds and skills began a very special relationship. As the family met the challenges of learning a new culture and living in America, we were by their side to offer guidance and support. The Haidari family members included two parents and four children, ages 25, 23, 20, and 16.
NICE assisted with finding employment for the father and his three young adults daughters at VI-JON Industries in Smyrna. With determination and sense of purpose, they have worked seven days a week, are now permanent employees with full benefits, and the three girls have been promoted into leadership roles. They are living in a comfortable home, received driver’s licenses, opened bank accounts, purchased a car with insurance, learned how to use our healthcare system, and improved their English. One daughter has also completed two semesters of college coursework. Their son is a junior in high school. Thanks to the generous legal support of Jason Callen, their Asylum paperwork was completed, and they received their asylum status in 2023.
For the one-year anniversary of this partnership in 2023, everyone gathered together to share their reflections from the last year. One member reflects fondly, "We started as strangers, and now we are like family. The Haidari family has inspired us all with their incredible grit and graciousness.” Thanks to the wonderful folks at NICE for compiling this video of the gathering. We invite everyone to join us in praying for meaningful ways to serve refugees in the future.
Finding the Way to Stability in Middle Tennessee
Congolese Family Sponsorship, 2016
A beautiful family from the Republic of Congo arrived in the U.S. in 2016 with their three young children after having spent almost 20 years in a refugee settlement in Uganda. Our parish sponsored them and supported them as they found their feet in Tennessee. They became beloved members of our parish, and eventually made their home in Murfreesboro. They were known and loved by many in our church, but distance and the complexities of COVID-19 made it hard to make more than the occasional visit to St. George’s over the years.
The family grew rapidly with the arrival of the father’s parents and several siblings, and we became deeply involved with them and their inevitable ups and downs. Together we mourned the grandfather’s death and celebrated special memories, including the son’s portrayal of a wise man in the Christmas pageant, and the baptism of two children at an Easter Vigil service. Today, the father is a proud homeowner and highly respected leader in the local Congolese community. He attributes all this to our sponsorship and has asked specifically that we pass on his immense gratitude for all the support that St. George's gave to his family from 2016 to the present. He asks that we continue to pray for them as they do for us.