Born in the mountains of N.C., and spending her early years amid the influences of civil rights era conflicts in rural South Carolina, Sharon is Director of Refugee & Immigration Ministries (RIM) for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She is an employee of Disciples Home Missions. RIM works to mobilize Disciples congregations around the country to offer hospitality to immigrants, provide refugee resettlement assistance to refugees, strengthen relationships of solidarity and advocacy with refugees and immigrants, and seek justice for farm workers. RIM’s office is located inside National City Christian Church, and works closely with 50+ national and interfaith partners through the Interfaith Immigration Coalition.
A nationally trained faith-based community organizer through the PICO (now “Faith in Action”) national network, Sharon serves as the Chair of the DC Cluster of Congregationss for the DVM Sanctuary Congregations Network. Prior to joining DHM, she lived nearly two decades in a low-income Southeast Asian refugee community in California nicknamed after a refugee camp in Thailand. She likewise served thousands of refugees annually as Founder and Executive Director for 19 years of the multi-cultural and ecumenical service and justice organization, Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries, in California’s Central Valley.
Sharon has previously pastored in North Carolina and California, and served in mission in Seoul and Pusan, South Korea. She was ordained in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. and holds clergy standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary, and earned a Masters of Divinity degree (Summa Cum Laude) from San Francisco Theological Seminary. She is the wife of Disciples pastor Rev. Dr. Woodie Rea, Senior Pastor at The Inter-faith Chapel at Leisure World in Silver Spring, Maryland, and is the sister, daughter, granddaughter, sister-in-law, and niece of pastors.
She has studied in Indonesia and China, has engaged in Laotian language learning, and has led mission trips for faith communities through Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Mexico. In recent years, she has also traveled to study refugee and migrant concerns–and faith responses to them–in the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. Sharon maintains sanity and soul balance through daily running. She cherished many years as a Laotian Dance team member, loved learning Korean fan dancing, and enjoys the adventures she is constantly led into through her beagle’s ever-discovering nose!