Mosaic recently asked three churches from across the country to share their refugee sponsorship experience – RiverCross Church in Saint John, New Brunswick; Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church (SCBC) in Ontario; and First Baptist Church in Dauphin, Manitoba.
mosaic: How has been the experience of your church in sponsoring/welcoming refugees to your community?
RiverCross: We sponsored four families – each has a “welcome team” working alongside of them. Three of the families were from Syria. One has children with significant physical disabilities; in another, the parents have recently separated and we are working that through.
The first family was a widow and her six kids from Tajikistan. They were very wealthy but on the wrong side of the Russian-backed government. Her husband was murdered in front of her and some of the children. They were immediately lifted from the country and brought to Canada. Three weeks later, she realized she was pregnant with her 6th. She never had to personally cook or clean, grocery shop, or put the kids to bed – she had servants to do all this. So a couple of “saints” in our church went over five nights a week and taught her how to do all these things.
At the height of the Syrian refugee crisis, when new families were arriving every day in Saint John, they were all staying in the same hotel. A group from our church who provides a meal each week in an underprivileged neighbourhood decided they would like to also provide a weekly meal for the refugees at the hotel. This gave our church family time to sit and have a meal with the newcomers. Continue reading