Central American Refugee Commission (CARC)


Furthering human dignity in the Northern Triangle of Central America through advocacy and education.”

 The Central American Refugee Commission was established in November 2015 at the 232nd Convention of the Diocese of Pennsylvania. Resolution 10 : Protect and Defend the Human Rights of Migrants and Refugees authorized the formation of a commission to address the subject of the resolution. To read the resolution click here (link). While the number of refugees worldwide has surpassed World War II with over 65 million, we are focused on the Northern Triangle of Central America which is comprised of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. All three countries have high levels of internally displaced persons (IDP’s) due to violence by gangs, drug and human traffickers, and police and military personnel. These IDP’s are often not recognized as refugees because they are displaced within their country instead of to neighboring country. However, if IDP’s are not able to relocate in their own country then they do need a safe place to live in another nation.

Our goals

Advocacy: We seek to advocate for individuals and their families right to have their human rights protected and defended. One of the primary ways we do this is through a partnership with Cristosal Foundation in El Salvador. (http://www.cristosal.org/ ) Cristosal is a nongovernmental organization based in El Salvador advancing human rights in Central America through rights-based programming, research, and learning.

Education: We seek to educate individuals, communities and congregations within the Diocese about the Central American refugee crisis. Oftentimes the language used is immigrant or migrant but this language does not take into account that people from the Northern Triangle are fleeing their homes because of violence and the threat of violence to themselves and their families.


The Rev. Cliff Cutler

Eric Frankhouser

The Rev. Sarah Hedgis

The Rev. Koshy Mathews

Gary Russell

The Rev. Anne Thatcher – Chair

Dianne Williams


The Central American Refugee Commission of the Diocese of PA invites DIOPA clergy and laity to join us in attending the Seminar: Human Rights, Reconciliation and Faith during the week of October 2-9 in San Salvador, El Salvador. We will study the theory and application of a human rights approach and its relation to Christian missions through contextual learning and cross-cultural exchange. Human rights provide a framework to respond to causes of poverty and conflict locally and globally. In an increasingly non-religious society, how can the language and values of a human rights approach advance the mission of the church? Seminar Goals: Deepen understanding of human rights and relate them with the Christian faith in terms that everyone can understand. Analyze the value of using the human rights framework for sharing the good news of God and Jesus Christ. Apply a human rights framework as a specific tool for mission work. This a program of the Cristosal Foundation  Global School (http://www.cristosal.org/), an internationally recognized human rights-based development organization with Episcopal roots.

The Central American Refugee Commission (CARC), was formed in response to the resolution (R-10) passed unanimously by our diocesan convention in 2015. Our goal is to protect and defend the Human Rights of Migrants and Refugees from Central America – through advocacy and education. This seminar will help us lead and direct our congregations and the Diocese of PA to engage in Jesus’ call to missions beyond our immediate horizon. There is continuing education scholarship available from the diocese for this program.  For more information, please contact the Rev. Anne C. Thatcher at athatcher@st.martinec.org or call 215-247-7466 x105.



Episcopal Resources:

DIocese of PA Resolution R-10

Diocese of PA Global Mission Commission

Dio PA Guatemala ministry



http://www.episcopalchurch.org/office/office-government-relations http://www.episcopalmigrationministries.org/


Human Rights Resources:



http://www.cristosal.org/global-school (gwr)




Prayer for Refugees

Shared by the Refugee Community Center

at the Episcopal Church of the Mediator (Allentown), Diocese of Bethlehem

God our Creator: We ask for your loving presence and for your peace to be with refugees in our local communities and around the world. Be with all who are in fear. Be with those whose lives and livelihoods are under threat, and whose religious freedoms are being compromised. Be with us as we strive to enact your will in our welcome and support of refugees. Be with those in positions of leadership, that their decisions may bend toward peace and not division, and that they might realize the power they hold to do justice. Give us all strength and courage. Equip and empower us to be witnesses to your love – as advocates and as servants, as ministers of welcome and bearers of hope, especially for those seeking refuge. In your Holy name we pray. Amen.

For more information contact: The Rev. Anne Thatcher athatcher@stmartinec.org 215-247-7466