With calling and purpose, faith groups help refugees
….. Other faith groups work with asylum seekers — those who have arrived in the United States without refugee status and who often wind up in the federal detention center in Elizabeth.
The Teaneck-based Northern New Jersey Sanctuary Coalition recently has worked with asylum seekers from South Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, Yemen and Ethiopia. The group includes Unitarian and Episcopal churches, the Ethical Culture Society, a mosque and a conservative Jewish group.
The group provides stipends, logistical and legal help, visits and shelter to those seeking asylum for political and religious reasons. Dr. Elizabeth Ames, the president of the group, got involved through her congregation, the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood.
Ames, a retired physician, previously housed an asylum seeker from Darfur in her home. “I’ve always wanted to help in some way,” she said. She detailed the harrowing journeys many have made — one coming from Eritrea via South America and the Mexican border. “These people have a heck of a lot of gumption,” Ames said. “This work with asylees has been so mind opening.” …….