Last Sunday at our 5pm service, we set aside time to dive deeper into the present refugee crisis that is sweeping the news. We heard stories from a few friends of Knox who have fled their home countries, we reflected on scripture that reminds us of God’s heart for those affected and fleeing from unrest and oppression, and we heard from 2 organizations about some practical things we can do together and individually to participate in bringing aid and relief to refugees fleeing Syria and other nations where forces of conflict and persecution threaten lives and livelihoods.
In the coming weeks, we will be making room for Knox members to organize and take action together, perhaps with sponsoring a family or individual to find refuge in Canada. Keep your eye on the bulletin, listen for announcements, and please keep talking amongst each other to share your thoughts and interest in how you feel the Spirit moving you to participate in aid.
In the mean time, here are some take-aways for action that we mentioned Sunday, and a couple emerging ones, too.
We serve a God who sacrificed his life for the sake of others to find freedom, peace, life in abundance. Let’s prayerfully consider how he is calling us to do the same.
PRAY / LEARN / ACT / GIVE
Pray for protection and care for those who suffer and must take refuge
Mourn the loss of dignity, of respect, of security, of community, of family
Pray that God would open our hearts and doors to strangers
Learn about the roots of the refugee crises in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Follow media coverage of emerging events, but also consider understanding the circumstances in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, as well as Africa, Asia and Latin America.
ACT / GIVE
1. Write a letter to your MP or the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.
A key issue right now is the length and administrative complications of the private sponsorship process. Asking that the government create an easier, shorter process to receive Syrians into Canada is one thing you can mention.
Here is a sample of an open letter from the Moderator of the PCC, Karen Horst, for ideas.
The Honourable Chris Alexander, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
The House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
2. Join the Day of Action rally
Thursday, September 17, 2015
5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Starting Point: Nathan Phillips Square – Toronto City Hall
More details: https://www.facebook.com/events/705226649577068/
3. Ride for Refuge, October 3 2015
Gather or join a team to ride and fundraise or make a donation to support a team who’ll be riding. 50% of the funds raised through the Christie Refuge Welcome Centre will be allocated to assist Syrian Refugees seeking asylum in Canada.
To participate, find the information here.
4. Gift packing for Refugee Families
December 13, 2015, 3-4:45pm
Mark your calendar and invite a friend to bring a donation and take some time to pack grocery cart welcome packages for refugees connected to the Christie Refugee Welcome Centre
5. Sponsor a refugee
Find out more information about sponsorship. If you’re interested in joining a group of people to sponsor and individual or family with other Knox members, tell a pastor and stay tuned on Sundays and through the bulletin for next steps.