The refugee committee is a volunteer group within Highlands United Church which helps to lead and involve our congregation in opportunities to sponsor, settle and assist refugees, some of the most vulnerable people in the world, to Canada. At times we may also work in partnership with other churches or co-sponsor with families or community associations.
During Highlands’ 43 years of refugee sponsorship, people from 11 different countries around the world have been welcomed to Canada. From 2015 to 2022, our sponsorships have included one person from Ethiopia, two families (15 people) from Syria, one person from Syria, and a family of four from Iran.
In 2022, the Highlands congregation also raised funds to help two Ukrainian families (seven people in all) settle in North Vancouver and donated to two other Lower Mainland faith communities for their outreach programs assisting Ukrainian newcomers.
We raise money to support refugees financially for a typical one-year sponsorship, but our support doesn’t stop there. We find them a place to live and furnish their home, provide transit passes, and help arrange language education and school enrollment. We connect our families with medical and dental services and assist them with government forms.
We spend a great deal of time in social support–orienting newcomers to Canadian customs, traditions, currency, conversation, geography, volunteer opportunities and, most importantly, making friendships and strengthening bonds to their new community.
Please contact Marilyn McDonald if you’d like to be part of this meaningful and immensely rewarding work.