Just once. Just once in every generation we get an opportunity to do something selfless that results in a richly rewarding experience and yields a dramatic change in someone else’s life.
That opportunity is about to appear on our church doorsteps with the arrival of a refugee family that has narrowly escaped the horrors of distant wars.
We are awaiting another list of families the federal government regularly distributes, to select the refugees we will be helping to make Calgary their new home.
Three parishes have joined hands in the sponsorship effort and so far we have collected about one half of the roughly $30,000 in pledges made by St. Stephen’s, St. Paul’s Anglican Church and our own Anglican Cathedral, the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer.
We are committed to help our refugees establish themselves for the first critical year in Calgary.
Once our family selection is approved, it may only take three days for them to arrive, and then everyone who has been quietly working in the background in preparation for that big day will be busier than tumbleweed in a tornado.
So we are asking you now to fulfil your financial pledges as soon as possible. Please leave your cheque made out to St. Stephen’s Anglican Church and write ‘Refugee Family’ in the cheque subject line before dropping it in the regular Sunday collection plate. Or drop off your pledge at the church office during regular business hours.
For those who have pledged in-kind donations such as furniture, kitchenware or bedding, you have probably already been contacted by your fellow parishioner Catherine Aldridge. But if you haven’t, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone her at (403) 289-3227.
In addition to housing basics for our refugee family, we will also be offering them everything from trauma counselling, to help with job searches, health care and English training.
If there is a skill you believe would be helpful to those family members, please contact Carol Rose-Skelly email@example.com or phone (403) 451-8155.
A silent auction will be held at St. Paul’s in southeast Calgary starting at 6:30 p.m. on April 9th. For just a $5 admission fee, you will get the opportunity at this family-friendly event to bid on items ranging from children’s toys to baby sleeping aids, cosmetics for the adults, small appliances, golf passes and high-end razors for the man who wants to look sharp for the lavish, in-home dinner he successfully bids on. That $5 ticket also entitles you to refreshments, nibbles and entertainment. Not to be outdone, our own parish will be organizing a fundraiser in June. Details will be announced later.
We live in interesting times, times that have literally seen many families tumbling ashore on far away beaches wet and freezing cold and now brought to our safe harbour to start anew.
It’s a once-in-a-generation adventure.