Who We Are

Refuge Rochester exists to help the Church of Rochester embrace refugees as a way of welcoming Jesus (Matt. 25:35).  We aim to cultivate a welcoming home for refugees through educating Evangelical churches of Rochester about the correct biblical perspective on refugees. We connect Christians with existing organizations who serve this population of people, as well as connect small groups and individuals with refugee families in our city.

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In January, 2018, three Rochester churches (Browncroft Church, Grace Road Church and Northridge Church) co-hosted the event “Loving the Stranger Among Us: A conversation about refugees with Matthew Soerens.” Over 250 Christians from over 35 different local churches came together to consider how God could be asking us to respond to the global refuge crisis that has resulted in over 10,000 refugees resettled in Rochester since the year 2000. Refuge Rochester is a direct result of that gathering.


Is God leading you to Welcome Jesus by Embracing Refugees in our city? If so, we hope you’ll connect with us and learn with us as we share our lives with our new neighbors.

Our Team



Sara Steffenhagen

Sara works as a volunteer coordinator for Refuge Rochester. She has experience working and living among refugees in the Rochester-area. Sara attended Houghton College where she studied marketing and intercultural studies. While at Houghton, she studied abroad in Morocco learning basic Arabic. Sara has a deep passion for forming relationships with people from different cultures.


Michelle Gerringer


Tiffany Wood

After traveling abroad for a year in 2014, Tiffany came back to Rochester with a desire to invest in her local community while still embracing the wider world. In the last several years, she has served as a volunteer giving English lessons to immigrants and refugees, as well as with Catholic Family Center, and most recently, Refuge Rochester.


Ken Pitcher

In the spring of 2018 the newly formed board of Refuge Rochester asked Ken to step into the role of Executive Director. Ken served as a missionary in Europe for 20 years, initially as a youth pastor to US military kids in Germany, and eventually as a pastor in the Czech Republic. He most recently served as an elder at Grace Road Church. He and his wife, Andrea, have four adult children.


David Bovard

David currently serves as a volunteer coordinator at Refuge Rochester. He retired back in 2014 after a lengthy career in federal law enforcement. Upon retirement, he was influenced by his son, Sam, an ESL teacher at the Rochester International Academy, to get involved with refugees. In 2016, David was hired by Catholic Family Center to assist newly arrived refugees. Soon after, he launched a refugee ministry at Browncroft Community Church. He has been married for 38 years to Adele and has four adult children.

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