The Anglican diocese of Niagara celebrates today the 140th anniversary of its founding. To mark the occasion, the diocese has launched a refugee sponsorship initiative that Bishop Michael Bird hopes will result in 50 refugees being safely resettled in Canada.
The diocese decided to launch the initiative after reflecting upon its past and current values, and upon the transformative nature of Jesus’ own ministry, it said in its anniversary brochure.
The theme of the anniversary, Celebrating Lives Transformed, Transforming Lives Together, “invites us to take up afresh the act of making room for refugees, those without a country or a home and compassionately respond to one of the most pressing human needs of our time,” said the diocese.
“Sponsoring a refugee family doesn’t just change their life; it changes everyone’s life,” Bird said in a letter to members of the diocese. “[A]nd what better way to celebrate the countless lives that have been transformed through our many ministries than by transforming lives together through this initiative?” The cause is certainly close to the diocese’s heart: it has been involved in refugee sponsorship for over a decade.
Bird noted that the world hasn’t seen refugees in such great numbers since the end of the Second World War. Ongoing conflicts-in Syria and Iraq, in particular-have seen refugee levels skyrocket, the diocese noted in a media release. “The United Nations High Commission for Refugees estimates that nearly one million refugees are currently in need of resettlement, and over 50 million people have been forcibly displaced.”
The average cost to resettle a family of four refugees is approximately $25,000, and the diocese has suggested making gifts of $140-in reference to the 140th anniversary-or multiples thereof, as people are able.