Out of the responses received from a national questionnaire to each church in the directory, it can be known that:
- 43 MB churches either have already welcomed refugee families or are expecting the arrival a family soon (17%).
- Another 15 have begun the process of sponsorship but do not have any confirmation as of yet (6%).
- This means there is potential for 58 churches to be welcoming refugees (23%).
- Another 16 (6%) are responding to the needs of refugees in other ways.
- A total of 74 (29%) churches are responding to the issue in some way.
The 42 churches who either have or will be welcoming refugees are:
|Responding in ways other than sponsorship|
|Penticton Grace MB||BC|
|Central Community Church||BC|
|Abbotsford Community Church||BC|
|Heritage Mountain Community Church||BC|
|Richmond Chinese MB||BC|
|Sayward Christian Fellowship||BC|
|Parliament Community Church||SK|
|Faith River Christian Fellowship||SK|
|ÉGLISE COMMUNAUTAIRE DE LA RIVIÈRE ROUGE||MB|
|St. Ann’s Community Church||ON|
|The Westside Gathering||QC|
|La Clairiére: Église Chrétienne de Saint-Jérôme||QC|
Several amazing stories have come out of the process of gathering information, far too many to list. Two in particular are of Waterloo MB in Ontario and Broadway MB in Chilliwack.
Michelle Knowles (email@example.com) is the Director of Global Outreach at Waterloo MB. In response to the refugee crisis, the decision was made to focus efforts not on sponsoring a family, but rather create an ongoing program of support for refugee claimants already in Canada.
Joanne Dekkers (firstname.lastname@example.org), the Administrator at Broadway MB, sent a response to the questionnaire that was full of joy and excitement. As a church they created a Refugee Project Committee where each member is looking after a different aspect of support for the family they helped welcome to Canada this spring. With one member assisting with grocery shopping, another with housing, etc., the tasks are more manageable than if only one person does the majority. This also allows more people to connect with the new Canadian family! Joanne shared the process Broadway went through:
Before the family had arrived we as a church family had raised $22,000 as a Christmas Project with the refugee crisis being the focus; the highest amount raised for any Christmas Project to date! Now, with our family only having been here for a month, there are so many stories already; of lives touched; and not only of the refugee family! The church family, have rallied on all sides to help, wherever and whatever help is needed.
We were also very blessed to discover that in our Hispanic congregation we have a missionary couple who used to be in Syria, so they know Arabic fluently and have been our translators! We’ve also been using a couple of down-loaded programs on our phones to help with translations.
It has been VERY exciting to see families in the neighbourhood, who don’t attend church, jump in and start helping. Local businesses have also stepped up to the plate; one putting in two bedrooms in the unfinished basement; another donating electrical hookups, still another donating doors, locks etc… Another provided a back hoe and dump truck to haul away 2 truck-loads of rocks in the back yard, to turn it all into a beautiful huge garden; this included Minter Country Gardens donating plants, and a local prison who made garden boxes for some of the ‘raised’ garden areas. The local fire department passed around a ‘hat’ and collected enough donations to purchase a trampoline for the children which they are enjoying enormously. We’ve even had a neighbor family speak to their family doctor, who ‘happens’ to be Syrian and he’s agreed to accept the family as his patients and has also offered to be a translator if needed! So many details just fell into place. It’s been thrilling to see God’s hand in all of this!
God is using this opportunity of helping a family, to really minister to hearts, that in the past might even have been against bringing in Refugees. Pretty exciting stuff! We’re rejoicing and excited about how God will continue to move; our ultimate goal is seeing this family accept Jesus; and also to see our neighbors come to Christ as well! “