The parishioners of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church were armed with bed sheets, stuffed animals and hope.
Preparing to welcome a Syrian refugee family of six, they still had to make up beds, hang shower curtains and stock up the pantry at the Austin apartment that had been rented out for the family — all part of their plan to prepare a house for strangers who would soon call it home.
The Rev. Sherry Vaughan Williams, among those leading the west Austin church's volunteer efforts, was still concerned about finding a vehicle large enough to get the family from the airport — where a group of church volunteers would receive them — to the apartment without splitting them up. “Six people in one car is daunting,” she said Sunday evening.
But by Monday morning, their hope had turned to heartache. The family’s flight, like those of several other families headed to Texas, was canceled after President Donald Trump signed an executive order that banned the entry of individuals from seven predominantly Muslim countries, halted the resettlement of refugees fleeing war-torn Syria and halted refugee admissions for 120 days.