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Church Engagement

Together, we’re joining God in his plan to bring lasting change to our world.

Ken Pitcher
Office Director
(585) 503-5109

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You long to serve your congregation well, to effectively call and mobilize them for mission and launch them into lives committed to the most vulnerable.

How can you inspire your congregants to ‘Be The Church’ seven days a week? To go out into all the world as disciples? And how do you, as a leader, follow your call to move your church?

These are questions many of us grapple with daily. And finding the answers can often be incredibly challenging.

But here’s the good news. We understand, and we can help.


Empowering Local Churches

At World Relief Western NY, we’ve been partnering with churches across the region since 2018, helping them join in God’s plan to bring lasting change to our world. Rochester, NY has a long history of involvement in the resettlement of refugees under the United States Refugee Admissions Program, with over 16,000 refugees coming to WNY since 2002. In 2018, three Rochester churches co-hosted the event "Loving the Stranger Among Us" and over 250 Christians from over 35 different local churches came together to consider how God could be asking us to respond to the ongoing global refugee crisis. Refuge Rochester was born as a direct result of that gathering, created as a way to respond to that question. Since then, we've focused on connecting Christians and churches with refugee families, and education and discipleship through events.

Beginning July 1, 2021, Refuge Rochester is World Relief Western NY, part of a national network of World Relief offices through which over 400,000 immigrants and refugees have been welcomed into this country. For decades, World Relief's passion has been to create partnerships that support and emplower local churches to adapt to the challenges of the moment for the sake of refugees and other immigrants.

Start, Rise, Stand

Together, we can expand your congregation’s understanding of what it means to love, serve and learn from immigrants and refugees, as well as guide your church through a process we call START, RISE, and STAND.


START exploring what it might look like for your church to serve refugees and immigrants. We prepare an individualized plan for your congregation to learn and launch into a ministry of welcome.


RISE stands for Refugee and Immigrant Sunday Emphasis. We partner with you to design and deliver a customized event or program that will help your congregation understand God’s heart for refugees and immigrants.


STAND with refugees and immigrants by taking what you’ve learned from your RISE event and putting it into action to welcome refugees and immigrants in the community.

7 Reasons We Believe The Church Can Change The World

We believe that when the church is mobilized to achieve its full potential, it has the power to change our world. We believe this because:

1. The local church is God’s plan to reveal his mercy, compassion and truth to people around the world.
2. The local church is the largest social network on the planet and has the ability, authority and permanency to do far more than any government institution or non-profit organization could.
3. The local church is led by local, trusted community leaders — those with an inside voice and understanding that no outside organization can bring.
4. The local church has the influence and moral authority to shape behaviors rooted in biblical values of love, compassion and justice.
5. The local church offers the greatest hope of reconciliation between classes, tribes, ethnicities and political parties, unifying people under a common identity in Christ.
6. The local church can restore dignity and bring hope to the suffering, forgotten and marginalized by reaching out to the most vulnerable in its community and answering God’s call to love.
7. The local church is empowered by the Holy Spirit to do more than human wisdom and efforts could ever possibly accomplish alone.

"Church health can’t be defined by attendance or budgets alone. Rather, by how well our congregation is loving their neighbors and coming alongside the most vulnerable in our community and around the world. As a partner, World Relief has played an important role in equipping and mobilizing our church to step into the lives of the vulnerable both here and around the world."

– Nathan Nelson, Missions Pastor

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