Diocese of Toronto appropriates C$500,000 for Syrian refugee relief

The Diocese of Toronto has appropriated C$500,000 from its Ministry Allocation Fund to support Syrian war refugees. On 24 Sept 2015 the diocesan council approved the expenditure, but the details of who will be given what has not yet been worked out, a diocesan statement said. “It’s important for us to make a statement that we’re willing to make a substantial commitment that will make a difference,” Archbishop Colin Johnson (pictured) explained. We are doing this out of our faith commitment, that God has created all of us and that all people have dignity. That’s part of our baptismal vows. The story of refugees and finding a place in community is part of our biblical story. According to Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus himself was a refugee. This is not a new or novel thing but who we are.” He noted the diocese would not directly sponsor refugees, but would provide matching grants to parishes and other groups that would support refugees. “I want to see how we can build partnerships in order to do this because that creates community,” he said. “Bringing refugees to Canada is all about creating communities.” Archbishop Johnson stated that in 1979 his parish sponsored a refugee family fleeing Vietnam. “When a refugee comes in, it makes a real difference not only in the refugee’s life but in the life of the sponsoring families,” he told his diocesan newspaper. “When we sponsored a Vietnamese family, we were incredibly changed by the process.”

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