AGC Churches

  • computer mouseOne of the blessings and the challenges in this work are the conversations with people who have been forcibly displaced. Most of those ‘conversations’ happen by way of email, but having been at this for 3 years now, there are more happening via Skype, Facebook Messenger and phone.

    I would like to share 2 of those conversations with you here. English is not their first language. In order to protect their identity I have changed their names, but I have preserved their words, their message to us …

  • silhouette 3Written by Ann Sparrow

    In October 2016 Fahad* contacted us - he said he found our name on a site of sponsoring churches. We were surprised because we didn't even realize that our names were on any list, so it was something definitely not on our radar at that time.

    We checked his story out through some missionaries to make sure that his story was true. Having found that out and feeling that this was perhaps a direction God was leading us in, we brought it to the church. There was full support from the board, and many of our church folk immediately showed a lot of interest.

  • Faith Community Church begins a sponsorship of a refugee family.At this point, it is still a waiting game but way more so for Ruth and Joseph* and their three children.

    We first began the process of sharing the vision for this with the congregation of Faith Community Church in January 2017. It was formally agreed to by the congregation in February.

    We worked closely with our SAH (the Alliance Church) and their representative Hannatu as she helped us work through the thorough template they have crafted for sponsorship. That process took us about two months as we emailed back and forth with Ruth & Joseph getting them to fill in their documentation even as we did ours. After the initial review of all our paperwork, our SAH then sent the file on to Immigration Canada. This was an invaluable time saver as it virtually eliminated all the mistakes we might have made and saved the time of resending.

  • grace churchOn April 7, 2018 I had the pleasure of chatting with Andrea Bowman of Grace Church, Newmarket about their church's refugee sponsorship experience. Grace Church worked with Mennonite Central Committee as their SAH to bring a family of 8 from Syria via Beirut, Lebanon, to Newmarket. Unfortunately, just before the family was about to travel, their youngest child died and understandably, their departure from Lebanon was delayed. In October 2017, the family of 7 touched down at YYZ and their journey to resettle in Canada began.

    RSI: How did this particular sponsorship journey begin for Grace?

  • In the Fall of 2015, AGC churches began a journey together into the heartbreaking world of refugees, and the blessed opportunities we have as Canadians to sponsor them. These are our stories. 

  • After 3 years of praying for peace in Syria, the Saturday night congregation at Varsity Bible Church wondered what else they might be able to do. By the winter of 2014, pastor Rinus Janson and some others in the congregation began conversations through a connection they had with the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada. By Spring of 2015, the Saturday night congregation chose to pursue refugee sponsorship.

    VBC FamilyOn February 11, 2016 they welcomed Walid and Kefayat along with their 3 children at Calgary International Airport. The family, originally from Aleppo, fled to Beirut in August of 2014. 

    We have had probably the best experience I could have imagined.

    The Sijarzi's (Walid, Kefaya and three kids) are a delightful family that have worked hard at settling into a new land and culture.

  • AGC English Logo 2 Colour PNG 800x621

    Canadians have the enviable opportunity to not only live in this great country with freedoms & opportunities, but we also have the opportunity to sponsor refugees through our government's Private Sponsorship of Refugees program. When we participate in this program, people who have been forcibly displaced because of circumstances entirely beyond their control can arrive as Permanent Residents to live in our neighbourhoods with us, to attend our schools, to work among us, to enrich our communities.

    Although we don't hear as much in the news, the situation for those who are living it is as much a crisis today as it has ever been. People are still risking their lives in the pursuit of freedom and to avoid war and death. Risky water crossings, paying smugglers, hiding out in 8' x 10' rooms - this is the norm for millions. Conflict and persecution in many parts of the world is rising. The UNHCR reports that never before has the world seen these levels of displacement.

    Resettlement in another country is the only durable solution for many. You can be a part of that solution, and will find information and resources here to help you.

    If you cannot sponsor a family to resettle in Canada, you still have the opportunity to bring hope and friendship to many. Technology today means that we can have back and forth conversations with people on the other side of the world. We can be a listening ear, a friendly face on their screen, an encourager to someone who is certain they have been forgotten in the world.

    The AGC would love to assist you in your efforts to reach out to ease the suffering of those who have lost so much, to make a way for those who are trapped in unimaginable circumstances to find hope and freedom. Explore the website, and contact us for further conversation and help.

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    Tim and Susan Davis
    Co-directors | AGC Compassion & Justice