by Bill Mous
In the face of an unprecedented global crisis, our diocese launched a refugee sponsorship initiative as a way of marking its 140th Anniversary. While we have been a private sponsor of refugees under the auspices of a Citizenship and Immigration Canada program for over a decade, this special initiative sought to increase our impact by welcoming as many as 50 refugees in 2016.
People, parishes and community groups have responded in all sorts of incredible and unexpected ways, and continue to respond generously to this initiative.
Since the beginning of this year, groups have sponsored over 110 refugees—more than the diocese has in the past decade combined; and already 78 people have been welcomed into communities in Hamilton, Halton, Guelph, Burlington and Niagara. Through our collective efforts we are on track to more than double our original goal.
Hundreds of volunteers have been engaged to support these efforts, inspired by our tradition of welcoming the stranger while striving for justice and peace in our world.
This humanitarian initiative comes at a time when the ongoing conflict in Syria is dramatically increasing the number of refugees in need of resettlement.
The United Nations estimates that nearly one million refugees are currently in need of resettlement, while over 65 million people have been forcibly displaced.
The Reverend Bill Mous, Director of Justice, Community and Global Ministries.