The widespread displacement of people is a crisis around the world. In 2014 the United Nations High Commission for Refugees reported 19.5 million refugees—those fleeing their homes across international borders—and 38.2 million internally displaced people—those who remain within their own country but cannot return to their homes. Throughout 2015, many more undocumented people were displaced as refugees or were internally displaced due to natural disasters, including here in Canada. More than half of refugees and displaced people are under the age of 18.
Through Mission & Service, the United Church and our partners are addressing the needs of displaced people in many ways:
- Mission & Service provides for the basic needs of displaced people. As the number grows globally the need for resources for housing, shelter, medical assistance, and education also increases.
- Through refugee sponsorship, congregations and community groups are working hard to provide the emotional, financial, and practical support refugees need to positively integrate into Canadian society.
- Mission & Service funds the refugee sponsorship program staff that assist congregations.
- Congregations respond to immediate needs of refugee claimants entering Canada. Mission & Service funds the national program staff that provide advice and guidance to congregations.
- Mission & Service funds the United Church’s participation in the Canadian Council for Refugees so that we can advocate with the Canadian government on refugee-related issues.
If Mission & Service giving is already a regular part of your life, thank you so much! If you have not given, please join me in making Mission & Service giving a regular part of your life of faith. Loving our neighbour is at the heart of our Mission & Service.