Thank-you to everyone who contributed to our Lenten Alms Project for Food Security. Approximately $1600 was donated in one-time gifts and some food. We have also been able to establish a monthly commitment to support the Senior’s Program that we heard about from Anne Silvey. 

Briefing on Ukrainian Refugees

We have all been shocked and horrified by the plight of refugees who have fled their homes in Ukraine.  Since the most recent invasion began on February 24, 2022, the United Nations reports that approximately 5.2 million people have fled Ukraine.  The International Organization for Migration reports that another 7.1 million are internally displaced within Ukraine.  Given that the prewar population of Ukraine is only slightly smaller than that of Canada, it is as if Canada was invaded, and the entire population of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Alberta had to flee their homes to escape violence.

One of our responsibilities as Christians is to educate ourselves about the special needs of people at risk around the world.  While Trinity is not directly involved in sponsorship of refugees from this particular crisis, we wanted to share an update on what is happening in Canada.

Most refugees have left Ukraine for the neighbouring countries of Poland, Romania, and other places in Eastern Europe.  Each refugee crisis is different – in this case, as of April 25 only 53,000 refugees have registered with UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).  This is very different from our experience sponsoring Syrian refugees, where millions of people were registered with UNHCR, and living in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East awaiting sponsorship as Permanent Residents in Canada.  The government of Canada has established a program called the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET), which permits Ukrainian refugees to live, work, and study in Canada for up to three years.  Ukrainians will apply for the right to live as temporary residents; they may also apply for Permanent Resident status once they are in Canada.

Because Ukrainian refugees are coming as temporary visitors instead of Permanent Residents, and without sponsors, the ways in which they access settlement services are very different.  However, the basic needs of refugees – shelter, access to medical care, language training, work, and schooling for children – remain the same.  Refugees are particularly vulnerable because they are not familiar with Canadian systems and support networks.  While many Ukrainians have Canadian relatives or mentors, others will be vulnerable because they do not know who to trust.

Arrivals are just beginning.  As of April 22, almost 20,000 people had arrived.  Almost 164,000 CUAET applications had been received, and almost 57,000 approved.  Community organizations and social service agencies are partnering with government to provide settlement services, but pathways to support are still being established.

Find out More:

UN High Commissioner for Refugees: https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/ukraine

Government of Canada key figures: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada/ukraine-measures/key-figures.html

Settlement.Org information on refugee settlement services in Ontario: https://settlement.org/ontario/immigration-citizenship/immigrating-to-ontario/immigration-categories/Information-for-Ukraine-Nationals-Coming-to-Canada/

We want to hear from you

A few years ago when we were establishing the Outreach Committee, we did a congregational survey to assess what community programs and outreach people were involved with to help us to set some priorities and areas of focus. Based on this survey we focused on the following issues: 

1) Homelessness through Inn From the Cold and later the Shoebox Project for Shelter

2) Clean Water, through the Water Project assisting with clean water for Indigenous communities

3) Access to Food through the Helping Hands Food Bank

4) Increasing awareness of FaithWorks by having speakers, and increasing our donations by including the FaithWorks envelopes and information

We have also, based on the annual Social Justice and Advocacy motions, focused on creation care and climate change and anti-racism and anti-bias. 

We would once again like to consult you, the people of Trinity, for your input into what important issues and outreach opportunities you would like to see Trinity involved with. There will be a few different ways you can offer your feedback, including responding some questions we will be sending out later this month via email or on a flip chart at the church. We are also hosting an open meeting after Church on Sunday June 12, at which you can hear back from you directly and we can all discuss where and what we want to be doing in the coming months and even few years. We, the Outreach Committee, are your committee so please plan to attend our meeting and let’s see where God is calling us to serve at this time. 

Trinity Church Outreach Committee