Media Contacts

Dan Curran for Global Ministries/UMCOR

Christopher Plummer of Church World Service

Magnitude of Work Calls for Denominational Engagement Akin to that Needed for CWS’s Creation in 1945, Leaders Say

ATLANTA (October 8, 2021) – Following the fall of Kabul in August, tens of thousands of vulnerable Afghans were evacuated to U.S. military bases.  An estimated 50,000 are scheduled to arrive in the U.S., seeking to rebuild their lives. Thanks to a new $100,000 grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), long-time partner Church World Service, a key organization in the welcome effort, will have funds that its nationwide resettlement network can use to support families with housing, legal assistance, case management, mental health support, medical care, school enrollment and community sponsorship.

Church World Service staff are deployed to designated military bases to welcome and assist with the immediate processing of arrivals. “Church World Service has worked with newly arriving Afghans for decades, but today we are facing an unprecedented number of new arrivals,” said Rick Santos, president and CEO of Church World Service. “This UMCOR grant will provide much-needed support to CWS’ resettlement efforts for Afghan refugees.”

“Given cutbacks to resettlement programming under the previous administration, it will take mobilization of both old and new resettlement networks to ensure a safe and secure transition for every arrival,” said Erol Kekic, senior vice president for the Immigration and Refugee Program of Church World Service. “This UMCOR contribution will enable CWS to address needs as they arise in the resettlement of Afghan allies.”

Both UMCOR and CWS have had shared missions of serving migrants and refugees since each was founded in the 1940s. “Earlier this year, UMCOR awarded a $1.1 million grant to Church World Service to support programs to help asylum seekers on their journey to safety,” said Roland Fernandes, general secretary of United Methodist Global Ministries and UMCOR. “We consider this new grant a way to build on that important work and continue our historic and shared commitment to serving vulnerable displaced persons.”

“CWS and the other resettlement agencies under cooperative agreement with the Department of State are being asked to work with Afghan Humanitarian Parolees, a population that will have needs that extend well beyond the resources provided by the United States government,” said the Rev. Jack Amick, director of global migration for UMCOR. “The massive lift required to meet this goal calls for denominational engagement akin to the energy demonstrated by churches when we gathered in 1945 to establish CWS.”

UMCOR is inviting UMC congregations and conferences to join with them in supporting this initiative. Visit and for more information.


About the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)

Founded in 1940, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is the global humanitarian relief and development agency of The United Methodist Church. A part of UM Global Ministries, UMCOR works in more than 80 countries worldwide, including the United States and its territories. The agency’s mission, grounded in the teachings of Jesus, is to alleviate human suffering with open hearts and minds to all people. Working in the areas of disaster response and recovery and migration, UMCOR responds to natural or civil disasters that are interruptions of such magnitude that they overwhelm a community’s ability to recover on its own. Learn more about Global Ministries by visiting or by following and

About Church World Service

Since 1946, Church World Service has supported refugees, immigrants and other displaced individuals, in addition to providing sustainable relief and development solutions to communities that wrestle with hunger and poverty. Learn more about our work and join our global home base for refugee solidarity at