Leaders of numerous EFC affiliates, facilitated by the EFC, are engaged in a response to the refugee crisis currently taking place worldwide. This increased co-ordination of responses began as a Middle East Refugees Resettlement Initiative in connection with Canada's offer of settlement assistance to at least 25,000 displaced persons from Syria and Iraq in 2015-2016.
These frequently asked questions may be helpful to church leaders considering participation in the Initiative:
1. Why would our congregation become involved in the Refugees Resettlement Initiative?
As we seek to bless in the name of Jesus those who are suffering in the world, we put Jesus' call to follow him into action. The EFC's issue summary on refugees begins with a basic biblical principle: "As Christians, we are called to care for our neighbour, and to protect the vulnerable, the needy and the oppressed ... Throughout Scripture, God specifically commands us to treat the alien with justice and compassion. Leviticus 24:22 instructs: "When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall do him no wrong ... you shall love him as yourself."
You may also find it useful to view an 18-page resource which expands on these themes, developed in 1998 by the EFC's Social Action Commission: Love the Sojourner: An Exploration of the World Refugee Situation and How the EFC Might Respond.
2. My congregation would like to get involved in resettling refugees from Syria and Iraq or elsewhere. What do I do now?
- Check this list to see if your denomination or associated organization is a participant in this initiative. Your denominational/organizational contact will introduce you to the next step.
- If your denomination is not part of this initiative, check the same list to see a list of organizations that will be able to assist you.
3. How can I help my congregation prepare to welcome refugees?
The EFC is preparing a new practical resource, which will soon be published, entitled Welcome the Stranger. Check back here soon to download it for free. It including contributions from the many other Christian ministries partnering in the Refugee Resettlement Initiative.
Several Christian groups have collaborated on a congregational resource called Finding Our Way: Immigrants, Refugees and Canadian Churches. It’s a free 30-page PDF from 2015.
More recently in 2017 the Centre for Community Based Research also produced a packet on Syrian Refugee Research that help to describe the experience of Syrian newcomers and of communities trying to support them. The resources also include suggestions for better supporting refugees in our communities.
The most recent materials from the CCBR are a Faith and Settlement Partnerships Research Packet from 2018.
The Refugee Sponsorship Training Program's website offers some very practical help for Sponsors: www.rstp.ca.
If you are sponsoring Muslim people, you may find it helpful to connect with the Fellowship of Faith for the Muslims. To find out if there is a network of people in your area working with Muslims, contact LovingMuslimsTogether.ca.
You can find refugee sponsorship resources created by individual denominations by typing "refugee sponsorship" into our EFC custom affiliate search. For example this could lead you to the Mennonite Central Committee refugees webpage or the Christian Reformed Church refugee webpage and its related World Renew refugee page.
The EFC's online resource library
includes several items related to the topic of refugees
, including a Refugee Highway Wall Map
produced by the Refugee Highway Partnership and a Code of Best Practices for Christian Refugee Ministry
developed by the World Evangelical Alliance.
You may also find helpful these resources produced by government and other agencies:
4. Are there other congregations in our area with whom we could collaborate in resettling refugees in our community?
Your denominational or group contact may know of other sponsors in your area; you may also contact the EFC to indicate your interest in connecting with other local sponsors.