Refugee Family Sponsorship 

We have a house! 















We will be housing our family in a single-family home on King Ave.
The landlords are members of Smyrna Presbyterian and are excited

to be going on this journey with us.

We have a family! 


This has been an exciting month so far for Westminster and Grace
Evangelical Lutheran. We found a house for our refugee family and
now Church World Service has identified a family that they believe
will be a good match for us. We are being led in a bit of a different
direction, but God is sending us a family that needs our partnership
and support. The Afghan refugees in Harrisonburg have almost all
been resettled. Many of them have been there since October and
they have built a support system there. The family that needs our
assistance is a Congolese family.  

Learn more about the family by clicking here.


Marti Elliott, Housing Coordinator


Refugee Sponsorship Timeline


August 25, 2021 – PRAYER
A prayer request was sent to the witness ministry regarding

Afghanistan and possible sponsorship of an Afghan family.

September 11, 2021 – WORLD NEWS
U.S. withdrawal in Afghanistan. Afghan citizens displaced from home.

October 9, 2021 - EDUCATION
Men’s Breakfast Speakers, Carolyn & David Thalman

regarding Afghan Refugee Resettlement


October 8-9, 2021 - EDUCATION
Marti Elliott and Pastor April attended two zoom trainings

with Church World Service (CWS) for Afghan Resettlement


October 13, 2021- MINISTRY
Witness Ministry Summary of Afghan Donations
and sponsorship of family.


November 11, 2021- EDUCATION
CWS Director in Harrisonburg, Susanne Lepley meets over
zoom with Waynesboro Pastor Group to discuss providing meals at
Massanetta and sponsoring refugee families by area churches.


November 15, 2021- EDUCATION
Rev. Cranford recorded an information video with Susanne Lepley 

for a youth group event on Sunday, Nov. 21. At the youth event,
youth from area  churches prepared an Afghan meal for refugees
staying at Massanetta. The video helped youth understand
refugee resettlement.

November 20-21, 2021- MISSION
Westminster with area churches (Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal,
Baptist)lead a weekend of meals for 40 Afghan Refugees housed
at Massenetta Springs Conference Center.

November 21, 2021- MISSION
Area youth groups from First Baptist, St. John Episcopal,
St. John the Evangelical Catholic Church, and Grace Lutheran
prepared an Afghan Meal at Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Westminster Youth and Adults served the meal to the Afghan
Refugees at Massanetta on Sunday evening.


November - January- MISSION 
Witness ministry collected diapers for Afghan Refugees at Massanetta


November Session Meeting – LEADERSHIP
The session discussed the 2022 budget in detail. An Elder asked the following question; "Has anyone looked
into what it would take to remodel the church office back into a home?"

April sent an email to leadership (elders, pilots, staff) with answers to the Elder’s question regarding
remodeling the church office back into a home. The email included Church World Service's need
for transitional housing, grants from presbytery, and asking contractors for estimates.

December and January – GATHERING INFORMATION
A group of WPC leaders gathered - and are still gathering - information regarding the possibility of remodeling the church back into a home for transitional housing. Much more information and communication will be needed before bringing recommendation before ministries and session.


Sundays in Advent, Nov. 8, Dec. 5, Dec. 12, Dec. 19- WORSHIP
Advent Wreath Candle liturgy was written specifically for Westminster to discern welcoming the stranger



In December, Advent devotions written by congregational members were sent on Thursday mornings. The
devotionals reflected on the theme “Welcoming the Stranger,” using the scripture verse Matthew 25:35;
“for I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” In this season of waiting, the church family discerned how they may be part of welcoming the stranger, neighbor, and refugee in Waynesboro.

Welcome the Stranger Devotion by Neil Sagebiel
Welcome the Stranger Devotion by Andi Shiflett
Welcome the Stranger Devotion by Ed Glover
Welcome the Stranger Devotion by Rebecca Rider

Sermons regarding Afghan Sponsorship and Discernment - WORSHIP

November 14, 2021- Empathy Series: Making Connections, Hebrews 13:1-2
In sermon, Pastor April talked about serving with Afghan Refugees at Massanetta and discerning sponsorship around the Advent Wreath every Sunday in December.

December 19, 2021 – Unwrapping the Names of Jesus; Emmanuel, Matt. 1:18-23
In sermon, Pastor April answered the question “What does sponsoring a family look like?” And discussed the possibility of the church office being remodeled into a home for transitional housing.

December 24, 2021- Christmas Eve, Taps the Little Drummer Boy
Pastor April's sermon was a children’s’ story about a refugee family and Westminster family.

January 23, 2021 – Joyful Living, Baptized in Love.
Pastor April’s sermon focused on How is God calling Westminster to serve? What is God calling Westminster to share?


Zach Baxter from Church World Service speaks at

Westminster in the sanctuary regarding Co-Sponsorship.
Sixteen Attendees from Westminster and Grace

Evangelical Lutheran. The presentation was

January 11, 2022 – MINISTRY MEETING 
Witness ministry met, discussed sponsorship in detail

and recommended a welcome planning meeting.


January 23, 2022 – WELCOME TEAM MEETING
Witness ministry led a welcome team meeting with 25 attendees which included Rev. Pingel and two members from Grace Lutheran and two members from the East Augusta Rotary Club.

January 24, 2022- Zoom Meeting with Delegate Avoli
Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea, Director, Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries (RIM) set up a zoom
meeting with Rev. White (Methodist) Rev. Cranford, Rev. Pingel, to discuss refugee resettlement and advocate for funds in Virginia. We encouraged his leadership work in the VA legislature in ensuring funds for the potential passage of the VA teacher licensure, VA affordable housing, and support for the Office of New Americans.

January 25, 2022 – SESSION
Westminster Presbyterian Church’s Session approved motion from the Witness Ministry recommending
Westminster to sponsor an Afghan Family through Church World Service. Westminster hopes to partner with Grace Lutheran in this mission.


Westminster's Welcome Team met to secure leaders, team members and complete application.
Welcome Team Leadership 

Team Management, Rev. April H. Cranford 

Jobs, Sue Krzastek

Housing, Marti Elliott             

     Members: Jack H., Andy S., Andi S., Bert A, Kay A., Betsy C.

Health, Jen Kearney

Transportation, Ed and Katrina Crawford

Schooling, Lindsey Coyner, Joyce Yancey             

     Members: Ed Glover, Betsy C. 

Cultural, Livia Griffith  

Additional interested members, Bethany Popelish, Erin Spencer, Caroline Lancaster, Rebecca Rider 

Interested Rotary member, John Reynolds  


February 2, 2022 
Church World Service Application submitted.

February 4, 2022
Application accepted. Organizing training session and background checks.

February 4, 2022 - Financial Donation
A community member heard of Westminster's and Grace's partnership in sponsoring an Afghan family, and pledged $5,000 to help, asking simply where to send the funds. This was the person's desire to take part, knowing that giving time was not something the person could do.  This is a great blessing from our Lord, and a powerful response from the community.  

February 5, 2022
Community Foundation Grant Writing

Members from Grace and Westminster met to fill out Community Foundation's Grant application for furniture, appliances, and first months bills for refugee family.  


February 8, 2022
Inquiry from St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church 

February 9, 2022
Inquiry from Love INC

February 11, 2022
Community Foundation Grant submitted for $5,000. 

February 11, 2022
Westminster's Leadership retreat
begins with an Afghan meal prepared by Zahir, Fakhria, Erin Spencer, and friends. The space opened up our senses to the rich beauty of God's love for all people. 


February 15, 2022
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church’s Council meets for discussion and approval of Afghan Sponsorship with Church World Service and in partnership with Westminster Presbyterian.  Approved!!!


March 5, 2022
Twenty-one members from Westminster and Grace attended the Church World Service Training by Zoom from 9:00-1:00 p.m. CWS requires all volunteers working directly with the family to be fully vaccinated and have background checks (paid and processed by CWS).

March 8, 2022
Welcome Team Leaders form Westminster and Grace will meet at Westminster's Chapel and via zoom for an organizational meeting. 

1. What is the vetting process for refugees? 
Click here to view pdf.

2. What are the financial requirements for sponsorship of a family with Church World Service?

Financial Contribution & Advocacy (page 23 of CWS Co-Sponsorship Presentation)

  • We ask that community groups take advantage of this opportunity to raise awareness of refugee resettlement in the community and to assist in our community in welcoming our wonderful new neighbors. 

  • During the program CWS ask that you help continue this program through financial contribution. 

    • All donations will go solely to Direct Client Services 

Financial Opportunities with CWS

  • Sponsoring group can make donations to CWS

  • Sponsoring group can gather household furnishings

  • The federal government applies $1,025 to each Refugee.  For a family of 4, this would total $5,000.  This money is given to the Refugee Resettlement Agency for core services. The refugee may receive a small amount of onset cash upon arrival for an uber ride from the airport to the transitional housing assignment.  Then, the remaining amount must be used for core services such as application fees for Social Security card, first meal, first week of groceries, household furnishings and rent. 

  • Grants from area churches and civic groups have been proposed to help with Westminster and Grace's first family with the perspective total of $5,500.

  • Donations such as beds, dressers, plates, etc can be collected from membership to fill the rental property.

  • Refugees are expected to become self-sufficient by paying their own rent, bills, and transportation costs.

3. What are CWS Core Services?  

Sponsoring group will fill out agreement with CWS for partnership in meeting the following Core Services:

  • Airport pickup 

  • School enrollment or after school tutoring for children 

  • ESL tutoring 

  • Transportation assistance to medical appointments and social security 

  • Public Transportation orientation 

  • Local community orientation 

  • Social and community building activities 

  • Grocery shopping assistance 

  • Mentoring

  • Financial education 

  • Rent assistance 

  • Job application assistance and mock interview 

  • Cultural Orientation 

  • Mentorship

  • Culturally appropriate ready-to-eat meal 

  • Gathering seasonally appropriate clothing 

  • Arrange, safe, sanitary and decent housing 

  • Furnishing new home 

4. When would Westminster and Grace welcome an Afghan family? 

Before a family can be assigned, Westminster and Grace must complete CWS application, CWS agreement form, attend four- hour training session, complete background checks, find an affordable rental property, and secure household furnishings. 

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1. Pray.

2. Volunteers
If you would like to volunteer please contact Linda Meyer or April Cranford. All volunteers working directly with the family must be fully vaccinated, sign CWS's forms, and have a background check through CWS. If

3. Furnish home.
Click here to donate new or gently used items for the home.

4. Welcome Congolese Family on or near April 27, 2022!

Would you like to help?
Have questions? Contact us.

Welcome Team Leadership 

Team Management, Rev. April Cranford

Jobs, Sue Krzastek

Housing, Marti Elliott

Health, Jen Kearney

Transportation, Ed Crawford & Katrina Crawford

Schooling, Lindsey Coyner & Joyce Yancey 
Cultural, Livia Griffith

Finance, Erin Spencer