by Rev. Wayne Murphy, Lancaster Baptist Church
Within four months (Nov. 2015 – Mar. 2016), over 26,000 Syrian refugees have been welcomed to Canada! We congratulate all of the Canadian Baptist churches across the country that have been a part of this amazing effort, in so many different ways. One such church, Lancaster Baptist in Saint John, New Brunswick, shares a little of their experience:
In December 2015, Lancaster Baptist had the opportunity to partner with Newcomer Connections (YMCA) and their Syrian Refugee Response in Saint John. We became the depot for furniture and household goods. Through social media, websites and great media coverage we called upon the folks of Saint John and surrounding communities to drop-off gently used items at the church’s Christian Education Centre. The response from the community was, and continues to be, tremendous. Newcomer families, along with their Welcome Teams, come to the CE Centre by appointment to “shop” for everything they need to begin life in our wonderful city.
Early in January we began holding weekly drop offs as families continued arriving in Saint John. Goods seem to move out just as quickly as they come in! At present, we’ve seen 75 families come through our depot (and we’re expecting 20+ more). This ministry has done more than just fill practical needs. It has fostered community within our church and engaged committed volunteers. We’ve also had the privilege of connecting with many generous people from our region and welcomed practically every Syrian family that has come to Saint John.
This article is found in the Spring 2016 issue of CBM’s mosaic magazine, read it here.