Scranton Church Looks to Help Refugees During Winter

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SCRANTON -- St. Paul's United Methodist Church in south Scranton has seen an uptick in attendance over the last month.

Already dealing with a dwindling congregation, the church is now the new place of worship for refugees who relocated from war-torn Congo.

One of the refugees says they saw the church while traveling through Scranton, and it reminded them of their Methodist church back in Africa.

"Walking around, going to the shops, going to different places, they saw the name of the church, and they know this is our church,"  refugee Rugemura Salumu said through a translator.

A two-mile walk from where the refugees live now in Scranton, combined with colder weather makes it difficult for the men women and children to travel every Sunday to church.

"We do not have the best shoes to put on for the terrain and it was just very hard for us, but we did it because we had nobody we knew," said Fred Mukelo Ushu, a refugee.

The church has tried to find ways to help the refugees get here, but a major problem has been the language barrier.

Making matters worse, church members have made multiple trips at a time just get the 20 refugees to the church and back home.

"Our prayer all along has been because of our size what is God's future for our church, and we've been praying that God would show us what he wants us to be and ta-da," said Pastor Scott Miller of St. Paul's United Methodist Church.

Even faced with all these difficulties, the refugees remain determined to keep St. Paul's United Methodist Church their home.

"This is like our home, so we will be coming to that church forever because that is our church," said Salumu.

If you can help the church and the refugees, you can contact St. Paul's United Methodist Church.


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