Two Vancouver churches provide space for growing LCSNW programs

by | Oct 16, 2023 | Refugees & Immigrants

Our Multicultural Community Services (MCS) staff has expanded into two Vancouver area churches that have office space to spare. One church is Lutheran, the other is not, and LCS Northwest is grateful to both.

MCS Director Peter Vogelaar said he and others at Lutheran Community Services Northwest “are thrilled to be able to work with each church to provide space for our programs.”  

“And our arrangement with Vancouver First Methodist Church, being outside the Lutheran community, is exciting because the congregation has welcomed us into their midst,” Peter said. “We celebrate this ecumenical partnership to welcome our newest neighbors, refugees and immigrants, into the Vancouver community.”

The Vancouver English as a Second Language program, launched earlier this year, has set up its classroom at Trinity Lutheran Church, 309 W. 39th St. The ESL program recently added a Program Supervisor, Eliza Harper. In addition, there are two instructors and recruiting is underway for a part-time instructor.

The team normally works out of the basement in our LCSNW office at 3600 Main Street. They conduct classes four afternoons each week at Trinity Lutheran, about a 10-minute walk from the main office. 

Two staff members from our Preferred Community Intensive Case Management program moved into Vancouver First United Methodist Church, 401 E. 33rd St., which is about a five-minute walk from our main office. The program provides assistance to Ukrainians and Afghans.

A second team, Vancouver’s Refugee Resettlement and Placement, has also moved into the Methodist church. In recent years this team outgrew the Main Street office and not everyone had a workstation there. 

The Vancouver team consists of two supervisors and 10 positions providing case management. A new manager arrived in September who supports Resettlement and Placement in Portland as well. His name is Siddiq Kakar, and he was a refugee who has since made his home here. 

These changes are happening as the Vancouver resettlement team shifts to serving more clients from around the world, a change from its longtime focus of supporting people from the former Soviet Union, said Daryl Morrissey, Director of Refugee Resettlement. The expanded space at the Methodist church is helping ease this transition, he said.