It takes a village: Welcoming an Afghan refugee family in Brooklyn

By Mary Grace Puszka
Posted Apr 13, 2023

[Diocese of Long Island] On Aug. 31, 2021, the United States withdrew from Afghanistan nearly 20 years after its initial invasion. Since then, 76,000 people have been evacuated to the U.S., leaving their homeland that, over a year later, “faces a collapsed economy, humanitarian crisis, and a Taliban regime essentially unchanged from that of 1996-2001.”

A conflux of factors: a swell of new refugees, a hasty withdrawal of troops, understaffed and under-resourced resettlement agencies, and the Taliban’s abrupt resurgence to power, created a tense predicament for Afghan refugees and those tasked with settling them in the United States.

As the impending refugee crisis dominated international headlines, the Rev. Steven D. Paulikas, rector of All Saints’ Park Slope, and the Rev. Mark Genszler, rector at Christ Church Cobble Hill, noticed an uptick in their parishioners’ and neighbors’ desire to practically support Afghan refugees. After a conversation with Episcopal Migration Ministries, the parishes decided to partner with HIAS, a refugee resettlement agency rooted in the sacred tradition of “welcoming the stranger,” forming what is now Brooklyn Neighbors for Refugees (BKNR).

Read the full story here.