Fergus-Elora congregation plans to sponsor refugee family

On Thanksgiving Sunday after reflecting on their many blessings, the people of Faith Lutheran Church decided to open their arms to a family in need of a  peaceful new home.

A motion was passed to pursue the sponsorship of a refugee family through Canadian Lutheran World Relief, an agency that has been active in the Middle East for decades and is an approved Sponsorship Agreement Holder with the federal government as part of its Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) program.

“After watching nightly News of desperate refugees risking everything to find a safe haven, we felt it was time to put our Christian faith into action,” said Ingrid Kebbel-Beer, chairperson of Faith’s Council.

“We are a small congregation and it is  very easy to look inwards, but it is only when we look outwards that our faith really means something,” said Rev. Elina Salonen

“We also know that there are many people in the Centre Wellington community who feel that Canada needs to reclaim its reputation as a kind and welcoming place so we invite any like minded community members to join us on  Oct. 26 at 7pm  (at Faith Church 290 Belsyde Ave East) as we strike a task force to make this goal a reality,” said Kebbel-Beer.

The congregation already has a pledge of housing for one year, as well as an offer of employment. With a great start like that the steering committee hopes that other donations of goods (furniture, clothing, household items) time, (offers to drive to appointments or classes etc) and monetary donations will soon follow.

“Perhaps, because several of our members are immigrants and a few were refugees, this is our chance to pay it forward” said Raunii Piirainen, a steering committee member.

Prior to making their decision the congregation listened to Jim Wilker, a former Fergus teacher, talk about his family’s experiences with a Vietnamese refugee girl they sponsored as an unaccompanied minor.

Ingrid Kebbel-Beer also shared her mother’s refugee story. Because Canada, it’s communities, churches and families said yes, many new people call Canada home and have helped Canada to prosper.