• The Gift of Time

    hourglassCovid-19 has been a game changer on so many different levels:

    • how we "do" church has changed,
    • how we socialize has changed,
    • how we connect with our families, has changed,
    • how we work has changed.

    We and people in our communities face uncertainty about a myriad of questions:

  • The Time is Now

    sunset sittingI hear a lot of talk among the church people I talk to about looking forward to when this time of Covid-19 is over and wondering what church may look like when that day comes.

    Recently, I find myself much more interested in what churches are doing now – today – in the midst of a pandemic in which we have been asked to remain physically distant from one another.

    What is right here, right now, that we can be about? What are the “good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" for today?

  • 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 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
    • On-line Workshop 

    Required Training by each Core Team Member:

    • Preparing a Settlement Plan
    • Preparing for Arrival and Orientation
    • Fulfilling Your Obligations through Assurance
    • Completing a Successful Sponsorship Year
    • 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 and volunteers who wants to work one-on-one with newcomers after arrival 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

    AGC English Logo 2020 860x667Canadians 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 refugee sponsorship, 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.

    Susan Davis
    AGC Compassion & Justice Coordinator

  • What Can I Do?

    computer keyboardI have spent the evening again reading emails and messaging with people overseas. As time goes on, these people are becoming friends. We laugh together, we pray for one another, (I think that may be why my wrist is better again), we talk about our days and our children … and I often cry. May I introduce you to a few?

    Let me introduce Bethany*.  Her husband Henry had been a teacher at a Missionary School before being charged with blasphemy. Bethany made the mistake of identifying extremists to police and speaking against them in the media. Their village was set ablaze, with explosives being thrown into houses.

  • 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 Churches Can Do

    ukraine heart handAlthough significantly different from the Private Sponsorship of Refugees program that we work with, the CUAET, an accelerated, special temporary residence pathway specifically for Ukrainians affords churches many ways to provide significant help to those fleeing war. (A description of CUAET can be found here.)

    Financial Donations:

    • The AGC is a long-time partner with Tearfund. Their partners on the ground are springing into action, especially those situated in border countries, preparing to welcome and support those in need. Donations can be made online, or cheques can be sent to the address at the bottom of that same web page.
    • In a God-orchestrated way, Tim has connected with a Ukrainian businessman and his family who are doing what they can to find places to stay here in Canada for people he knows. This man is on the board for a Christian camping organization in Ukraine and has even visited Muskoka Woods Camp in Ontario. Money can be sent to Tim and Susan to disperse on your behalf for plane tickets, to help Ukrainians as they arrive, or as needs become known. None of these funds would be eligible for a charitable receipt. 
  • 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: TBD
    Time: TBD

    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.

    Register for this event here.

    Previously recorded events can be accessed here

  • What the Canadian Government is Doing

    ukraine flagCanada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel (CUAET)

    In response to Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Canadian government has created  a special, accelerated temporary residence pathway for Ukrainians seeking safe haven in Canada while the war in their home country continues. As of May 5, 2022, more than 71,000 applications have been approved.

    With the CUAET:

    • Ukrainians and their immediate family members of any nationality may stay in Canada as temporary residents for up to 3 years;
    • Applicants who are overseas need to apply online for a Canadian visitor visa and provide their biometrics (fingerprints and a photo);
    • Applicants are encouraged to apply for a 3-year open work permit at the same time as their visa application, which will allow them to work in Canada;
    • Many of the regular requirements associated with a normal visitor visa or work permit have been waived;
    • Elementary and high school students can register for and start attending school as soon as they arrive in Canada, and anyone looking to study at the post-secondary level can apply for a study permit once on Canadian soil;
    • Applicants who do not have a valid passport may still apply, and IRCC will issue a single journey travel document on a case-by-case basis, where appropriate.
  • 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.

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