FAITH AND REFLECTION — The refugee crisis in our world is as appalling as it is enormous. I read that the crisis that we witness today is unprecedented and impacts more than 60 million people. Syria alone, has had more than 22 million people either displaced or killed.
I have struggled with the refugee issue. I try to develop a theology for everything; in other words, I should have, within my Christian worldview, a biblical rationale and reason for what I think, what I do and the movements that I support (or reject). In studying and researching this matter, I found a profusion of vigorous opinions ranging from passionate support to intense disagreement. So, I wrestled with developing a perspective that would balance proper theology with personal empathy. I found myself wondering if my/our response to the refugee crisis is constructed more on the foundation of fear than faith. In addition, (I am a protectionist by nature) can I balance protectionism with the passion and commission of Christ? (I’m still working on this one)
About the time I was thinking through this matter and shortly after Prime Minister Trudeau began welcoming Syrian refugees into Canada, I received a telephone call from a friend asking me to drop by her office and discuss how I felt about bringing a Syrian refugee family to Stettler. I was certainly interested, as were some individuals in my church, but hadn’t studied the matter in any depth. My first question was if there was a family coming to Stettler and the response was no, at least not at that time. A Baptist Church to the east of us was already working with the government to bring in a refugee family (actually two families, but only one materialized). I suggested to those in my sphere of influence that they direct their support to that endeavour.
Later, on Jan. 7 of this year, I was invited to an informational meeting to discuss bringing in a refugee family to Stettler. I consented to go on to the executive committee for a brief time, intending to pass the baton to an interested friend of mine, a bit later on. Well, there have been several meetings since then, and I have become very intrigued with both the process and the possibilities, so I’ve not yet passed the baton, but still intend to … sometime.
The result of these meetings was the formation of the “Stettler Refugee Sponsorship Committee” which is comprised of an executive committee of seven chaired by Lucille McKee. There are several others, in addition to the seven, who are providing support and direction. The goal is to provide support to bring a needy family, from any part of the world, to Stettler and the mission statement is, “To provide and support a refugee or immigrant family in need.” Momentum is picking up, and if you are interested or have questions, you could call Lucille at 403-916-4433 or Nancy at 403-740-6457.
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Hebrews 13:16)