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Welcoming the Stranger

Thank you for your support of Refugee Services at the Minnesota Council of Churches. We have news to share with you about new congregational relationships in the Twin Cities and an exciting feature from the Star Tribune. Please scroll down for information about urgently needed donations and join us in welcoming Ben Walen as our permanent Director of Refugee Services!

Refugee Services Makes the News!

For Katia, the case manager, that’s the time she gets to usher newly arrived refugees into life in Minnesota. For Abdi, a father of five who landed here this spring, those days whirl by after years in the languid limbo of an Ethiopian refugee camp..." keep reading

A Somali family recently resettled by MCC was featured on the front page of the Star Tribune. A reporter followed this family and Refugee Services Case Manager Katia Iverson for the family's first 3 months in Minnesota. We encourage you to read the whole article and share with friends--it offers a detailed and balanced picture of what life is like for many new refugees.

Photo credit: Renee Jones Schneider

Donations Corner
For many families, summer is the time to relax and take it easy. The kids are off from school, and families plan vacations and time at the lake. But we know of at least one place where summer does not equal a slow down: refugee resettlement! 

We typically see many more new families arrive during the summer months, and that means that household items fly off the shelves as fast as we can stock them! Imagine (if you can) setting up house for 150 people between August and September, all of whom have only a couple of bags of personal belongings and clothing to start out with. That’s a lot of the basics—kitchen utensils, laundry supplies, dishes, toiletries, and the like!

Now’s a great time to spread the word to your church, work, and school groups! We are in urgent need of these critical items:
  • Shampoo
  • Large pots and pans with lids
  • Brooms and dustpans
  • Alarm clocks
As always, donations can be delivered to the MN Church Center at 122 W Franklin Ave, Minneapolis. Please visit our donation page for updated guidelines and drop-off instructions. Call 612-230-3219 or email with any questions. 

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints joins the cause to Welcome the Stranger

Tears in their eyes and note pads scribbled with information gleaned from the “Refugee 101” presentation, the women of the Faribault Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Relief Society asked how they could help refugees in their town. With tables full of first aid kits, backpacks, and school supplies in the background, the women already were helping. They were answering the call put out by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in March 2016 to welcome the stranger.

The call, entitled “I Was a Stranger” reminds the Mormon church of their history as refugees in 1839 when Mormons were violently driven out of Missouri and the citizens of Quincy, IL gave them a safe place to land. They provided shelter, provisions for food and clothing, and a chance to live a meaningful, safe life. The Mormon church has not forgotten that life-saving kindness.

So far, Mormon congregations in Faribault, Oakdale, and Burnsville, MN as well as in Hudson, WI, have collected donations and hosted our “Refugee 101” presentation to educate their members on the refugee’s struggle from homeland to refugee camp and then to the Twin Cities. Additionally, a congregation in Anoka, MN hosted our Jump Start class for a group of Ukrainian families. We are thankful for this amazing support and generosity.

“I give a new commandment to you: ‘Love one another; just as I have loved you, you should also love one another.’” John 13:34

Volunteer Orientations


Volunteer Orientation
Learn about the resettlement process and how you can welcome a new refugee family. For more information, contact


Volunteer Orientation
Learn about the resettlement process and how you can welcome a new refugee family. For more information, contact

  By the Numbers

  Since October 2015:
  • 415 refugees have resettled through MCC: Refugee Services
  • 10 Co-sponsorship groups have welcomed refugee families

  Contact Us

   MCC Refugee Services
   122 W. Franklin Ave.
   Minneapolis, MN 55404

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