Stable Roots: Refugee Ministry
Two Refugee families from Burma came in through our doors in October of 2007. Today, almost one fifth of us are Chin, Karen, Kachin, Lisu, and Karenni Refugees. Words cannot begin to express the transformation that has taken place in the last two and a half years of life and ministry at Tabernacle. We are advocates and guides for many that come from such far away places. More importantly, we are brothers and sisters in Christ and look forward to seeing what God has in store for us over these next several years. The Stable Roots Ministry is always looking for ESL Teachers, tutors, drivers, conversation partners, medical and educational liaisons, job trainers, etc. Join the Judson next Sunday morning at 9:45 a.m. if you would like to meet some of the members of our international community.
Video Introduction Stable Roots: A Ministry Addressing the Needs of Refugee Resettlement Families at Tabernacle Baptist Church
Style Weekly ran a featured article on our congregation in February 2013.
Information about the 120,000 living in Malaysia (95% are from Burma and the vast majority of our newest arrivals are coming to us from this region)
History of Refugee Resettlement Ministry at Tabernacle:
In August of 2007, our church was contacted by Duane Binkley, a dually commissioned Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and American Baptist Church missionary located in Ohio. He called to see of Tabernacle’s interest in helping the Virginia Council of Churches address the needs of ‘Karen’ refugees coming to America. Duane lived and worked in Thailand with the ‘Karen’ people for more than 20 years and last summer he was commissioned to live stateside and help US Baptist churches minister to the large influx of Karen refugees coming to America. As a result, we responded!
September 2007 – welcomed our first family to America at Richmond International Airport.
October 2007 – aided in furniture distribution to prepare homes for future resettlement families.
November 2007 – developed a plan to integrate willing resettlement families into our church family. “Stable Roots” was established and we began organizing ourselves to welcome these fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We divided ourselves into three main departments: transportation, church guides, and worship sitters. Also in November, a luncheon was hosted on behalf of our new friends with Thai food to boot! Heather Gomez from the Virginia Council of Churches shared cultural information to aid our church in refugee resettlement ministry specific to the Karen.
December 2007 – two members of the Htoo family participated in worship by lighting the Advent candle during 11am worship. 16 Christmas baskets were delivered to Resettlement families identified by the Virginia Council of Churches.
January 2008 – between 10 to 15 folks began attending Wednesday evening fellowship. Various ages participate in everything from handbells to youth group. In addition, numerous Karen bibles, dictionaries, hymnals, and picture books were purchased to aid in continued communication….and the relationships to continue to grow and thrive….
We received $25,000 from CBF (It’s Time Grant) primarily to support this ministry.
We began to provide tutoring and choir at Colonial apartments on Thursday afternoons.
We also began tutoring at Tabernacle on Wednesday afternoons.
We provided tutoring and other activities at Colonial apartments on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons during the summer.
The New Ko Tha Byu/Judson Sunday school class began to use scripture study to help adults learn English.
ReEstablish Richmond, a new non-profit in Richmond, begins it work.