Church Resources

  • The Role of Race and Racism in the Refugee Debate

    bird and cageOne of the challenges in the debate about refugee sponsorship is the hesitance to discuss the issue of racism in our culture and in the church. There is a fear that the slightest admittance that race or cultural differences affect how we live out our beliefs is equal to confessing complete allegiance with history's greatest genocidal offenders.

    Judy Wu Dominick has written an excellent article where she proposes, "Let’s take a break from our own trigger-filled context and practice talking about the role of race and racism in the context of biblical history instead." If indeed this has been a struggle for God's people down through the years, perhaps we'll be a little bit more gracious to ourselves and reflect on how to break free of this unspoken sin that entangles us and prevents us from following God's call on our lives to care for the stranger.

    You can read her article at: lifereconsidered.com/2016/01/25/a-biblical-approach-to-overcoming-racial-discourse-allergy

  • The Sponsorship Process in a Nutshell

    Granted, it will be a fairly large nutshell, but in terms of what happens first and who does what, this article will provide you with a run-down of the process from initial inquiries to resettlement.

    Getting Started

    nutshell

    If you wonder whether sponsorship is something that your church, or perhaps a group of churches in your community could initiate, the first thing to do is to call a meeting and invite anyone who is interested or has questions to attend. We have several documents that walk a group through the responsibilities of sponsorship, how to establish a core team, different types of sponsorships, and projected cost tables.

    If there is enough interest among that first gathering for at least 5 people to commit to being part of a core team for the time of preparation, and the year of resettlement, then you are ready to move forward.

  • Training

    The Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP) and other settlement agencies host several workshops and webinars throughout the year. Check back here frequently to see what is available.

  • Venezuela - 2019

    Venezuela: The Refugee Crisis You Aren't Hearing About from Tearfund Canada on Vimeo.

    You may be unaware of the crisis happening in Venezuela right now. A staggering 5,000 Venezuelans are leaving their country every day. Hyperinflation has devastated the economy. People are forced to flee to survive and many make their way to Colombia. The Colombian church has responded as the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.

    Tearfund has partnered with The Peoples Church and Living Truth Media to respond to this particular refugee crisis. They are showing a 3 part Documentary that shares the human face of the story. As partners with Tearfund, we have an opportunity to join them in this response.

  • Webinars

    training teacherTraining in the comfort of your own home by qualified RSTP trainers, SAH members, and settlement providers will help equip you and your team to meet settlement responsibilities.

    Attending several regularly featured RSTP webinars or watching a recorded webinar are required by each Core Team as outlined below:

    Required by the Team Lead plus one other Core Team Member:

    • What is the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program?
    • Preparing for the Visa Office Interview

    Required Training by each Core Team Member:

    • Preparing for Arrival and Providing Post-Arrival Support: Handling Unrealistic Expectations and Practicing Ethical Considerations
    • Preparing a Settlement Plan: The Financial and Settlement Responsibilities of Sponsors under the PSR Program
    • Preparing for and Transitioning to Month 13
    • Sponsorship Ethics - 5 minute video
    • Power Imbalance - 3 minute audio
    • Managing Expectations - resource kit with activities and video links. This training will be facilitated by the Team Lead or another "teacher" among you using the curriculum available below.

    Volunteer Screening & Cultural Awareness

    Along with the webinars/videos, each core team person will:

    • submit the results of a Vulnerable Sector Screening Check to their Team Lead
    • participate in Cross-Cultural Awareness training facilitated by the Team Lead
    • participate in Volunteer Screening and orientation as provided by their church. If a church does not already have a volunteer screening program in place, the AGC recommends Plan to Protect Orientation Training. Plan to Protect does offer a Refugee and New Immigrant module, but the information specific to refugees and newcomers is outdated and sometime erroneous. We do not recommend you take this module specifically.
  • Welcome the Stranger

    Welcome the StrangerA Canadian Church Guide to Welcoming Refugees

    The EFC and its partners in the Refugee Resettlement Initiative (which includes the AGC) have produced this new practical resource to help private sponsors welcome and settle individuals and families into a new life in Canada. 

    Filled with personal stories from those who have walked the path of sponsorship from the very first stages of inquiry to building relationships with the individuals and families who arrive in Canada, as well as stories and insights from refugees themselves, this resource is a tool for a discussion group or study guide in any church or community considering sponsorship. It will especially help those who want to be involved, but don’t know where to start on the journey of sponsoring refugees to Canada.

  • What Are the Responsibilities of a Sponsorship Group?

    sponsorship responsibilitiesWhen a church signs a sponsorship agreement, it becomes jointly and severally or solidarily bound with the other signatories (the AGC as the SAH and the co-sponsor if applicable) to perform the responsibilities that are detailed in the sponsorship agreement. The church becomes the official "Constituent Group (CG)" that will fulfill settlement obligations primarily through the members of their Core Team who are free to invite other volunteers to help with resettlement.

    The CG, Core Team and co-sponsor (if applicable) are referred to as the "sponsors."

    The responsibilities of the sponsors include:

    1. Providing basic financial support (e.g., for housing and food) and care for the sponsored newcomer1 during the sponsorship period, or until the sponsored newcomer no longer requires assistance, whichever comes first;
    2. Ensuring it has sufficient resources and expertise to carry out its responsibilities;
    3. Remaining jointly or solely liable with any co-sponsors that have signed a sponsorship undertaking.

    What settlement assistance is required from Sponsors?

  • What Can I Do?

  • What Can Our Church Do?

    people talkingThere is room for every one of our AGC churches to be involved to some degree in both local Compassion ministries and working in some capacity either locally or globally to bring hope to refugees.

    Figures at a Glance:

    79.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes.
    26 million have been granted refugee status
    4.2 million asylum seekers
    3.6 million Venezuelans displaced abroad
    2 million new claims for refugee status in 2019
    40% of the world's displaced people are children
    107,800 refugees were resettled in a new country in 2019

    Over and over in our scriptures we see God's heart for the victim, for the marginalized, for the oppressed. God's people have always been His solution to the suffering of the world's vulnerable. In fact, as recipients of grace, it is through the pursuit of justice that we find our way to deep intimacy with a God who loves us and calls us into His work not only for the good of others, but for our own good as well. The work of justice therefore is as much about discipleship as it is about mission.1

    So, how can your church get involved? The options below are generally listed from simplest to more complex possibilities. Read through the sliders, then email to let me know which one(s) will be best for your congregation today.

    Together, we can make a real difference in the world!

  • What is the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program?

    Attend a webinar for an introduction to the Private Sponsorship of Refugees programThis is one of the webinars that is required training by your SAH. The Team Lead and one or two others from the Core Team must take this webinar.

    Date: Thursday, May 6, 2021
    Time: 6:00 - 8:00 PM EDT

    This webinar delivered by RSTP for new and experienced sponsors will provide an in-depth look at the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program, including:

    • an overview of Canada’s refugee sponsorship and resettlement programs;
    • who can sponsor under the PSR program;
    • the eligibility and admissibility requirements for refugees being sponsored under the PSR program;
    • the importance of refugee status documents and who needs them; and,
    • an overview of the application process.

    To register for this webinar, click here.

    If that time is not convenient, the RSTP Video Library has a copy of the webinar available here. Attending the webinar in person allows for you to ask questions of the facilitator.

  • Who Can Sponsor?

    familyThe Associated Gospel Churches is a SAH which means that any of our AGC churches can become what IRCC refers to as a Constituent Group (CG) and submit an application to sponsor a refugee through the PSR, BVOR or JAS programs. 

    The AGC Refugee Sponsorship Initiative Co-directors will gladly answer your questions, address your concerns and work with you in your efforts to pursue refugee sponsorship. We will ensure sponsoring groups have the information and resources needed to "welcome the stranger" and become hands and feet of compassion in our world's refugee crisis today.

    An AGC church may also elect to work with a co-sponsor - such as family members of a refugee, or another organization - to deliver the financial & settlement support required to carry through a successful sponsorship to its conclusion. 

     

  • Who May Be Sponsored

    crowd

    The Guide for Sponsorship Agreement Holders to privately sponsor refugees (IMM5413) is IRCC's guide to refugee sponsorship. This guide, available on-line or as a hard copy, provides information related to who can be sponsored and much more.

    According to the 1951 Convention, a convention refugee is defined as any person who

  • Why Sponsor a Refugee?

    canada logoAs Canadians, we have had the privilege as citizens and permanent residents since 1979 to sponsor refugees, to make a way for those who have been forced from their homes to start a new life in Canada.

    Refugee sponsorship is a time, financial and relational investment in which sponsors work together as a team to help displaced persons resettle into a local Canadian community. Listening to the stories of those who have sponsored a family in the past confirms the fact that the blessing of sponsorship goes both ways. Lives are expanded, communities are enriched, the perspective of Canadians is broadened as we engage with a new culture, language and history while making new friends.

  • Workshops

    Workshops facilitated by RSTP trainers and other settlement providers occur from time to time in communities across Canada. If there are no workshops listed here, check back again another time. You can also check the RSTP site itself for a listing of current workshops available in our communities.

  • World Facts

  • World Refugee Sunday

    world refugee day 2020World Refugee Sunday is held annually on the Sundays before and after June 20 (World Refugee Day) to:

    • corporately remember the needs of refugees,
    • to participate together in prayer for refugees & displaced people,
    • to respond in practical ways to both ease the burden of those who have been displaced,
    • to spread the word among our peers to get involved and
    • be inspired to offer hospitality and hope to refugees.

Join Our Newsletter

New to the world of Refugee Sponsorship? Become informed. Join the conversation.