of this website is to help the newly-resettled Burmese Karen to connect
with American Baptist-USA and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship churches
throughout the U.S. Duane helps churches and church leaders hosting
Karen congregations to connect with each other to share resources and
ideas, and to help the Karen scattered across the country and around the
world to re-connect. Duane was jointly appointed to do this work by ABC-USA and CBF to oversee this Karen
We hope you find this site useful. Let Duane know what we can do better.
Click on the "Karen Konnection Discussion Group" button above to tell Duane know what you think.
The Story in a Nutshell
The Karen are an ethnic group native to Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand that since the end of World War II have been enduring what many call an ethnic cleansing program in eastern Burma. For decades, the Burma Army has attacked unarmed villages resulting in the displacement of between 500,000 to 1 million Karen still living within Burma. In addition, even after years of resettlement in other countries, nine refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border house 129,000 mostly Karen, Karenni and Shan refugees that have been driven from their homeland. (Click here for current refugee numbers along the Thai-Burma border.) Tens of thousands more live in refugee-like situations in Thailand and Burma. The Kachin in northern Burma are currently enduring attacks by the Burma army resulting in 100,000 or more losing their homes with some living in camps in Burma and some fleeing into China. The Chin in western Burma have been persecuted and are fleeing to Malaysia and live illegally there. Millions of others from a variety of ethnic groups seek refuge and a way to make a living in surrounding countries.
With problems so firmly entrenched in Burma, in 2005 governments around the world began to accept Karen people from the camps in Thailand and Chin from Malaysia for permanent resettlement. The U.S. takes the largest number for resettlement which began with the Tham Hin Camp. In subsequent years, more camps were added until the opportunity was given to all registered refugees in the Thai camps to apply for resettlement. In 2013, the U.S. government closed the door for new applications but continues to work on clearing the back-log of previous applications. The Chin continue to come to the U.S. from Malaysia. According to The Border Consortium semi-annual report, as of the end of 2012 a total of 80,637 mostly Karen have been resettled in third countries with 63,121 sent to the USA. In addition, an estimated 20,000 – 25,000 Chin have been sent to the USA from Malaysia. They have settled in 200 cities and towns across the U.S. and have often sought relationships with Baptist and other churches in their new homes.
The Karen were some of the earliest converts to Christianity in Southeast Asia, and one of the fastest-growing churches after American Baptist
Find U.S. Karen (and other) Refugee Locations NOTE: When mouse-cursor is moved over a state and it changes to a hand,
click to see locations of Karen (and other) refugees in that state
Click here to see the entire list of U.S. refugee locations
missionary interest of these early mission efforts were the reason Baptist churches in the U.S. formed mission societies to work together that led to the formation of our Baptist denominations that exist today. For 200 years, the Karen and other ethnic groups in Burma have been graciously receiving our missionaries and their message, and they are proud of their links to Baptists in America. Now it is our turn to receive and help them become a part of our American churches and communities.
efforts began with the arrival of Adoniram Judson in Burma in 1813. The excitement and It is with sorrow we see the Karen, Chin, Karenni, Kachin and others forced from their homes in Burma, but it is with joy that we welcome them to America.