In August 2015, little Aylan Kurdi, drowned while fleeing war-torn Syria with his family . Many children have died before, and many since, however this photo,  galvanized St. Clement’s parish, communities across the country, and the world over,  to act in the face of a mounting refugee crisis in the Middle East. St Clements has a strong and faithful history of refugee sponsorship. In the 70’s we sponsored a Vietnamese family during the influx of sixty-thousand Boat People. In the early 90s, we came together as a community and sponsored two families – twenty-three people – from Somalia.

St Clements’ Outreach Committee established a sub-committee dedicated to this endeavour: Clara MacCallum Fraser (Chair), Anna Foley (co-Chair), Brad Faught (Outreach Committee Chair), Steve Luff, Elizabeth MacCallum, Maria Ringo, and Joan York. We are partnering with St Clements School to raise money and potentially sponsor a large family, or two families.

The Anglican-United Refugee Alliance states that the minimum cost for sponsoring a family of 4 is $27,000; however, the poverty line as of 2009 for a family of 4 in Ontario was just under $35,000. Given that there will likely be costs that we cannot anticipate, our fundraising goal is approximately $40,000. Already our community has surpassed that goal, reaching $41,000! This means that we will be able to sponsor a family larger than four, or two families.

Whichever family St Clements sponsors and supports through their transition from the Middle East to their new lives in Canada will have myriad needs, having gone through traumas and struggles that are perhaps beyond our imagination. But they will encounter a community that is eager to welcome them with open arms, drawing on our experience from years past, and our openness to new friends. With the full support of a strong pastoral team, and a community of parishioners committed to living faith through action, the Refugee Sponsorship Committee has the tools we need.

As you think about what you can offer financially, please also think about other ways that you can contribute, both now and in the future. We are at the beginning of a very long road; there will be calls for donated items to fill their home, for hand-me-downs and tutoring for the kids, and support for the parents as they adjust to their new life. If you would like to get volunteer your time, please contact the Chair (clara.fraser@gmail.com).

Thank you so very much for your generosity.

You donate financially to this endeavour, either via cheque or credit card. Please make cheques payable to “St. Clement’s Church” with “Syria Refugee Fund” printed clearly on the memo line. All contributions are tax deductible.

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” (James 2:14–17)