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Board of Directors

James Corbett

Kevin Porter

Jiji Varughese

Kawaljit Singh

Daniel Augaste

Richard A. Howard, Esq.

Christine Samuel, Esq.

Shazia M Khan

Orlando Lopez, Esq.

About Us

RIM's Mission

Refugee Immigration Ministry was founded in 1986 as an Interfaith Ministry whose purpose was to offer Spiritual Care in the detention facilities. As RIM has expanded to other services the collaboration between faith groups has brought volunteers together from many cultures and faiths to provide community-based services to uprooted and often isolated persons.

By bringing uprooted people into a community they are able to build trust and can begin the process of rebuilding their lives. Community–based support helps clients to prepare for employment and to make the cultural adaptation necessary for success. Not only does the community welcome provide friendship, acculturation opportunities and support for clients, at the most vulnerable time of their lives, but it is enriching for volunteers. By sharing faith practices, and cultural customs RIM volunteers are enriched and inspired.

RIM’s participating faith groups include: American Baptist, Buddhist, Episcopal, Jewish, Lutheran, Mennonite, Muslim, Roman Catholic, Sikh, Society of Friends, Unitarian Univeralist, United Church of Christ, United Methodist, and United Presbyterian.

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Meet our Staff

The Rev. Dr. Ruth H. Bersin is the Executive Director of Refugee Immigration Ministry in Boston. She is an Episcopal Priest with experience as a teacher and in the business world. She has extensive experience in immigration issues. Dr. Bersin founded a refugee programs for CWS in California (1978) and in New Haven, CT in 1982. She was Executive Director for Tokyo English Life Line from 1989-1992 and served as a Civilian clergy person on the Yokosuka Navy Base at that time.

Dr. Bersin is a a Fellow in AAPC and a member of the Association of Trauma Stress Specialists. She received a trauma certificate from the Trauma Center in Brookline in 1997. In addition, she received specialized training for police chaplaincy in 1996 following her work as Team Leader for the National Organization of Victim Assistance in response to the Oklahoma City bombing. From 2002-2004, she provided training for volunteer chaplains for detention centers in across the country. She serves on the board of HAWC and ARSP.

Dr. Bersin has written on Spirituality in the Recovery Process after Traumatic Experience and has given papers on the subject to numerous conferences including the Episcopal East Coast Military Chaplains Conference, Association of Trauma Stress Specialists, and American Association of Pastoral Counselors. She has published  an article: “Healing Traumatic Memories: A Spiritual Journey.” in Theological Literacy for the 21st Century, Eerdmans, 2002 and “Life Beyond the Gates.” in The Antoich Agenda, Andover Newton Theological School and The Boston Theological Institute, New Delhi, 2007.

Dr. Bersin received her B.S. in Education from Indiana University, an M. A. in Religion from Colgate Rochester Divinity School, Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School and a D. Min. from the Graduate Theological Foundation. She received her Ph D in Pastoral Psychotherapy at the Graduate Theological Foundation in 2008. Her dissertation topic: “ Community-based Resettlement: Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Asylees Rebuild Their Lives with the Help of Congregations and Community.”

Rev. Isaac Seelam works for The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts and helps with international student's internships and field education. He can be reached at Seelam@TABCOM.org or 781-322-1011 x 305.

Annie E. Athyal is our case manager. Her duties include assessing, planning, implementing, monitoring, and advocating for our clients. In addition, she is in charge of evaluating actions required to meet the psychosocial needs of our clients and coordinating care for our clients. She works closely with the medical and legal teams. Annie has a Bachelor's degree in Divinity from Leonard Theological College, Jabalpur, India, a Master's degree in Religion and Society from Andover Newton Theological School, Newton, MA, and a Master's degree in Social Work from Simmons College, Boston, MA. Annie is a member of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church. She has professional affiliations to Amnesty International and American Civil Liberties Union. Annie has worked as a case manager and social worker in outpatient mental health clinics, hospitals, juvenile and probate court system and in the corporate setting. She is a licensed clinical social worker. Annie has participated in educational programs in Israel, Nepal, and India. She has done three research projects as part of her education. They include 'Factors Relating to the Ordination of Women in the Indian Churches,' 'Life Struggles of South Indian Women -- An Indian Christian Feminist Perspective,' and 'Relationship between Social Support, Trauma Experience, and Health And Well Being of Vietnamese Refugees.' Annie can be reached at annieathyal@gmail.com or 781-322-1011.


6 Pleasant Street, Suite 227, Malden, MA 02148 - ruth.rim@verizon.net - 781-322-1011