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Monday, 16 November 2015

Refugee Sponsorship Update from REST

We have named/renamed our sponsorship group REST: Regional Ecumenical Sponsorship Team.

Welcome to the REST update. Please forward this on to your parishes and/or friends and family who are interested.

First, we have been approved to sponsor a young man named Ali. He is a 24 year old man from Somalia, who is blind. We are now waiting for a call to tell us when to expect him at the airport! This could happen any time, or it could take a couple of months. We have a temporary home for him arranged for when he arrives, and are working on finding out about services available to him.

Secondly, we are working through the slow process of private sponsorship for a young man from Iraq, who is currently waiting in Turkey. There is paperwork to complete on his side as well as ours, which is in the works, then interviews, and then more waiting. We do not expect to see him soon, but we are working through the process of bringing him. Many thanks to Joanne and Satori for working together to make this happen. When he arrives, his sister is already here with her family and they will be able to help with his settlement.

Thirdly, there are so many groups interested in sponsoring families that they are flying off the sponsorship lists before we can get accepted! This is great news for so many families who are being sponsored and no longer waiting in refugee camps. We continue to work toward calling dibs on a family before anyone else does! We expect to hear good news about which family will be coming to us this coming week. A new email will be circulated as soon as we hear the good news. These are the refugees we are currently working toward supporting.

Given the government support provided for them, (six months of financial assistance), we expect our financial commitment to be approximately $75,000, and we will need to raise most of that over the coming year. So, we have a plea for all of those interested in helping...we need to raise some money! We have 10 churches that have expressed an interest in working together to support refugees. These churches are (in no logical order):

  • St. Agnes, Anglican 
  • St. Clement's, Anglican 
  • St. Catherine's, Anglican 
  • Gloria Dei, Lutheran 
  • Mt. Olivet, Lutheran 
  • St. Stephen the Martyr, Anglican (Burnaby)
  • St. John's, Anglican (North Van) 
  • St. Martin's, Anglican 
  • West Van. Presbyterian 
  • St. Andrew's & St. Stephen's, Presbyterian (North Van)

We are asking each of those 10 churches, are you able to budget/fund-raise $7500 to support the refugees?

 I have attached posted a flyer for a December fundraiser. It is a simple cookie exchange and should be lots of fun for anyone and everyone. This can be hosted at a church, but also at a workplace or school. All you need is a bunch of bakers, a table to put the cookies on, and some bags or baskets big enough to put 2 dozen cookies into. All proceeds can be donated to the refugees through any of the churches listed above. Cheques should have "refugee fund" clearly marked on the memo line.

We have a designated refugee account where our funds will be pooled together at St. Agnes Church. Please feel free to ask questions if you have them. Thank you for your support!

Your REST Steering Committee