Members of the JustFaith study group decided in March that we wanted to live our faith by helping to welcome a refugee family to Connecticut.  We started exploring how we might do that and decided that we would like to partner with IRIS (Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services) in New Haven.  Several of us have had training with this agency in order to learn the many different aspects and challenges of co-sponsoring a family. We have put together a broad coalition including members of First Church, Simsbury United Methodist Church, First Church of Granby, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, and members of a group in West Hartford called Welcoming our Neighbors.  We have formed committees to work on issues of housing, employment, education, benefits, and transportation.  We are hoping to be ready to welcome a family to West Hartford in February and partner with them as they work hard to establish themselves in a new culture far from home.  We are pleased to be able to do our small part to help people who have been displaced by war and opression.
We have a strong and motivated group, but could still use more help.  So, contact Frank Gould ( if you are interested in being a part of the team or in knowing more about the plan.  This effort will also require financial support.  We have received generous support from our Mission Board and the other groups involved, but we encourage you to contribute to the effort.  Checks can be made to First Church of Christ, Simsbury, with “Refugee Resettlement” on the memo line.  We will need to subsidize housing for the family for six months to a year and help the family with many other expenses.
A committee is hard at work locating housing and employment for the adults.  Even though they will probably not be able to speak English, they must find employment relatively fast after their arrival.  You may know of a company, a store, a restaurant, or some type of business that might be willing to hire them.  Translators will be available to help in their initial stages of employment.   Volunteers will be working at a furious pace helping them to learn English but employment is a necessity.  Please call Genie Wilmarth (860-658-0675) or Mary Hendrickson (860-651-9167) if you have any suggestions or contacts.
~Sara Batchelder and Frank Gould

Refugee apartment furniture and household goods:


HANA (Hartford Area Neighbors’ Alliance) is a group formed by four churches in Simsbury and Granby, and a neighborhood group in West Hartford. We have come together because we recognize the plight of refugee families and want to take action. We are still hoping to help a refugee family.

Household goods and  furniture that have already collected are being held in the garage and basement at the house in the back parking lot at First Church of Christ, Simsbury. Address of the house is 6 West Street,  Simsbury. Hours for drop off are 7-9 pm M-F, plus  Sat.and Sunday 8-4 pm.

For folks in West Hartford, a person has graciously offered garage space at 116 Beacon Street, Hartford. The garage is behind the house and is unlocked. Please use this drop off during daylight hours only.

Please call Jane Hadley at 860-550-0237  if you have questions about furniture, or email Sally Crapser at , or Sharon Heyman at

Thank you for your generous offerings and support for the refugee family!

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First Church of Christ, Simsbury
Simsbury United Methodist Church
Shepard of the Hills Lutheran Church, Simsbury
First  Congregational Church,  Granby
WON Welcome Our Neighbors- West Hartford
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