The Syrian refugee crisis is creating enormous turmoil in Europe and generating tremendous media energy around the world. This is not only a Syrian problem, Hungarian problem, or European problem; it is a world problem.  We are one world community and share responsibility to do all that we can to enable our fellow inhabitants of this world to live in conditions that support their flourishing.

The Anglican Church of Canada has a long history of being involved in refugee situations around the world and particularly in supporting refugee families to relocate to Canada. A month ago, we were approached at St. Philip about the possibility of being part of a Constituent group that will sponsor a Syrian Refugee family to come to Victoria.

Three preliminary meetings have been held including members of St. Philip and two other Anglican parishes. Bruce Bryant-Scott, our Diocesan Refugee Coordinator, has attended St. Philip Parish Council to outline the process from here.

On Tuesday 22 September at 7:00 p.m. at St. Philip there will be a meeting of anyone interested. The primary goal for this meeting is to identify a group of people who will come together to facilitate this process. It is essential that we have leadership for this undertaking if we are going to move forward.

As things stand at the moment a family has been identified, consisting of: father, mother, three children, and possibly two elderly parents.

Personal information about the family is being kept at a minimum at the present time as the family is still in Syria.

Because sponsorship is being proposed through the Anglican Church which is an established sponsoring body, they do not have to be in a refugee camp before qualifying for refugee status. The father has begun the paper work in Syria and the Diocese will do the official paperwork on our end.

Our treasurer, bookkeeper and envelope secretary have agreed that, as funds are raised, St Philip will receive all donations and as expenses are incurred we will be able to issue the necessary cheques.

The primary task at this point is to begin raising funds to facilitate this family’s relocation. We need to raise between $35,000 and $60,000 depending on the number of family members who will be coming. These funds provide support for the first year of the family’s life in Canada.

When we know when the family will arrive, we will be responsible for providing suitable accommodation and doing whatever is necessary to insure their successful relocation.

This is a big undertaking. There is lots of support, but it is essential that we have leadership in place able to carry this undertaking forward.