First Presbyterian Church, San Jose; Joining hands with Christ in the Inner City


The Presbytery of San Jose has a long partnership with organizations providing assistance to refugees -- and First Presbyterian is taking an active part in the Presbytery’s new refugee house!

In 2011, Immanuel Presbyterian Church closed and gave funds toward creating a Presbytery-owned transitional house for refugees. With the renovation complete, in September 2015 Immanuel House (stands for “God is with us” in Hebrew) opened its doors in downtown San Jose.  First Pres members Pat and Greg Plant were selected to be live-in house managers!

Our Presbytery has had a strong partnership with Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement program for the past 25 years. Recently our Presbytery raised nearly a million dollars to buy a rooming house in San Jose (68 S. 11th St. –- 7 short blocks to our church!) for refugees transitional housing. The new house is called “Immanuel House” (God is with us), and will become one of our partner agencies we serve and support.

Immanuel House Refugee Ministry

Immanuel House (front)

The house includes a living and a dining room, kitchen, six bedrooms to accommodate up to 14 refugees, and an apartment for the Plants.

Who are refugees?  They come to the U.S., sometimes with just the clothes on their backs, fleeing from political, religious, or other forms of persecution, and/or the ravages of war. They can never go home, and hope for a better life in America which many see as the “land of opportunity.”

Immanuel House Refugee Ministry

Refugees enjoying an Afghani dinner

We all eat together, sharing cooking and cleanup duties, and do chores to keep up the house. Meanwhile the refugees are looking for work so they can continue their journey as new citizens.

First Presbyterian is proud to be part of this mission and support it financially through our Deacons by buying groceries occasionally for the refugees, who are subsisting on very little cash from the U.S. government, plus California food stamps.

Immanuel House has ways you can help this ministry grow: a wish list of needs; community meals cooked by helpful church members (and other organizations, too!) and shared with our refugees, giving them also a chance to practice English; and a program we call "Food Angels" where groups of people band together to provide a week's worth of groceries occasionally to supplement their food stamps.  See

First Presbyterian Church | 49 N. 4th Street | San Jose, CA  95112 | 408-297-7212 | Site Map