(Photo by Freedom House)

Canadian congregations respond to Syrian refugee crisis

More than a dozen Canadian denominations are calling on their congregations to respond to the need of thousands of Syrian refugees looking for a fresh start and new hope.

After five years of war, more than six million Syrians are displaced—nearly four million are currently registered as refugees with the United Nations. Neighbouring Iraq, already an unstable country, is also experiencing fresh waves of displaced citizens due to the violent acts of Islamic State militants.
Canada has agreed to welcome 10,000 refugees from Syria by the end of 2016 and 3,000 refugees from Iraq in 2015. About 60 percent are expected to come through private sponsors, like church groups.

Recently 16 denominational leaders from across Canada signed a statement of intent calling on their congregations to assist in the resettlement process.

“The Syria refugee crisis gives us the opportunity to show God’s love to displaced people without a home,” says Willy Reimer, executive director of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. “It is important that Canadian Mennonite Brethren Churches (CCMBC) consider what we can do to meet this humanitarian need in the name of Christ.”

Mennonite Central Committee, an organization with decades of experience as a Sponsorship Agreement Holder with the Canadian government, is involved in the resettlement process offering resources and support. Reimer also recommends Finding Our Way, a guide to action drawn from extensive community-based research by a firm in Kitchener-Waterloo.

Meanwhile the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada has created a Middle East Refugees Resettlement Initiative to assist refugees coming to Canada over the next year and beyond and to help churches determine how they might get involved.

Click here to watch a short video from the CCMBC calling on Canadians to respond o this urgent need.

(from a CCMBC press release)

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About the author

Kelly Rempel is the Senior Editor for ChristianWeek.