Karen Ministry

Who are the Karen?
The Karen people are an indigenous people group living primarily in southeastern Burma (Myanmar) with a smaller population in northwestern Thailand. Due to decades of war, persecution and genocide inside Burma, hundreds of thousands of displaced Karen have fled to UNHCR refugee camps at the Thai border with Burma, with tens of thousands seeking asylum in other countries. Around 2004, The U.S. State Department began resettling Karen refugees in the United States under the Refugee Resettlement Program with large numbers being resettled in North Carolina including Guilford County. While the Karen are traditionally animists or Buddhists, a percentage of the Karen are Christians today due to the efforts of Adoniram Judson, a Baptist missionary who served in Burma in the early 19th century.

Friendly Avenue Karen Church
FABC’s involvement with Karen refugees in Greensboro began in 2007 with the co-sponsorship of a newly arriving Karen family through one of the resettlement agencies. In 2008 it was determined that the timing and opportunity was right to begin a church plant among this newly arriving refugee community, so in January 2009 the Friendly Avenue Karen Church was started. Led by resident retired IMB missionaries and a missionary church planter, the church has grown over the years into a vibrant community of faith meeting each Sunday for worship at 10:30 a.m. in the fellowship hall, ESL and children’s Sunday school classes at 9:30 a.m., as well as a host of other ministries including US citizenship classes on Monday nights, various service projects, and all the ministries of a growing young church.

Karen Bible Institute, Greensboro
Seeing the need for the training of pastors and leaders for the Karen church in America, the Karen Bible Institute was created. KBI is a contextualized leadership development program for the theological training of Karen pastors and Christian leaders serving the Karen Churches in the NC region and beyond. It is part of the ADVANCE program of Gateway Baptist Theological Seminary. The classes meet on Saturdays and upon completion of the program the students receive the Diploma of Christian Ministry from Gateway.

Want to know more?
Bryan Presson (Pastor, Friendly Avenue Karen Church)