Join the Circle of Welcome

Written by Beth Petersen

In January, a plea went out to upstate churches for individuals willing to join a program through a Christian Refugee Resettlement and create Circles of Welcome to support Afghan refugees resettled in the Clemson Area. These refugees had fled their homes because of the consequences they could face for having served with the U.S. military. Over two dozen local churches responded, including a group of individuals from ALIVE who came together in February and created a circle of welcome to prepare for the arrival of a family they had yet to meet. 

The family they were assigned consisted of a mother and father and three young children, and they would be arriving with a few items of clothing. The family had been in the U.S., living on a military base and waiting for a resettlement location. The team helped to furnish their apartment, fill their fridge and pantry, welcome the family at the airport, and register children for school. Then, there were dr visits, dentist visits, English lessons, and lots of time getting to know each other. Most recently, this Circle of Welcome hosted a baby shower for the family as they prepare to welcome their 4th child. 

Pam Schmutz, who helped bring together this Circle of Welcome, said it has been an honor to be part of this family's journey. "I'm amazed at this beautiful family and their courage and persistence in overcoming the challenges of leaving behind all they have ever known to begin a new life. They have shown courage and great resolve in working to build a new life in a new culture. The different individuals in our Circle of Welcome have all used the talents the Lord has given them and are eager to support this family."


If you would like to help this family, they are currently in need of a reliable car to help get to and from work. If you have a car you are willing to donate or are willing to sell at a minimal cost, please contact Pam Schmutz at