The Canadian Baptists from east to west have a strong tradition of welcoming refugees to Canada, especially since the 1970s. This year, there are new opportunities to welcome refugees to this great country. The government of Canada is especially concerned for Syrian refugees, and is inviting faith communities to play a large role in helping many settle here.
Over one million Syrian have sought refuge in Lebanon because of fighting in their country and continue to live in harsh conditions in informal settlements in southern Lebanon. “We cannot accept that the Syrian people will go on living in these absolutely tragic circumstances, and we cannot accept that countries like Lebanon and Jordan are facing such a dramatic challenge to their own economies and to their own stability,” said The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), António Guterres.
An opportunity to respond tangibly has arisen in the midst of this humanitarian crisis. Blair Clark from Canadian Baptist Ministries has suggested that the CBOQ, the CABC, and the CBWC churches consider sponsoring 100 families across Canada. The most likely channel for Canadian Baptist churches willing to participate is the Private Sponsorship of Refugees program. The Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR) program has further expedited the process by pre-selecting Syrian refugees who are travel-ready. This means that refugees sponsored under this program would arrive in Canada sooner, usually within 1-4 months, and the Canadian government will cover 50% of the costs.
We are inviting and encouraging churches to take a risk and respond to this opportunity. Find out more about sponsoring a refugee if you sense the Lord prompting you or your congregation in this matter. If you have further questions, please contact:
- Kevin Long, CBOQ Refugee Liaison, firstname.lastname@example.org or
- Carol Gouveia, CBOQ, email@example.com 416-620-2949