Diocesan Statement

The Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island strongly supports refugee sponsorship by Churches and Parishes. The Diocese is a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) – defined below - under the Government of Canada's Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program (PSR). We pursue advocacy and policy work in support of refugees through, and in collaboration with, the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), the Canadian Council of Refugees (CCR), and Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives (KAIROS).

Within the Diocese, the advocacy and support of refugee sponsorship is coordinated by the Diocesan Refugee Task Group.

Contact: Marie Kettle, Refugee Sponsorship Coordinator




What is our mandate?

The Task Group's mission is comprised of the following:
•As a provincial SAH, to assist in the administration of the refugee sponsorship agreements
•To disseminate information on the process of private refugee sponsorship, to promote the benefits and rewards of this ministry, and to address the challenges and concerns of the process. This may include a presentation from the Task Group at your church, the Diocesan website with virtual resources, or answering questions by email
•To continue to raise awareness of this worldwide refugee crisis
•To encourage all clergy and parishes in the Diocese to engage in this vital initiative
•To offer material and financial support from the Diocese, where possible


What is a SAH?

A Sponsorship Agreement Holder is simply an organization which has an agreement with the Government of Canada to privately sponsor refugees. The Anglican Diocese of NSPEI is one of three provincially authorized SAHs, along with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese and ISANS (Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia). There are also regional SAHs (e.g. Atlantic Baptist Convention) and national SAHs (e.g. Salvation Army and the United Church) who have local representatives. The SAH’s assume final responsibility and liability for the sponsorship! Depending on the circumstances, you may choose to use the Anglican Diocese as a SAH, or partner with another group under a different SAH.


How can we help?

There are many ways to help refugees. If you wish to become involved in the sponsorship process, you (along with others in your parish or local area) are encouraged to form a group. Each group is responsible for raising the necessary funds and resources to support a refugee (from a single person to a large family) for at least one year. In addition to financial support, the group is responsible for all food, housing, transportation, health access, language education, employment assistance and all basic needs the refugees have. Once a sponsorship group is formed, you are asked to register with the Task Group, please see the form below.


How much does our group need to raise in order to sponsor a refugee?

The amount varies according to the number of refugees sponsored at a given time. For example, for an average family of four, the estimated cost of sponsorship for one year is about $30,000. Please see the cost table (available below) for other variables, and please note these estimates are just suggested minimums.

When starting a group, and before beginning fundraising, please read "Financial Guidelines from Diocesan Controller" (available below) to make yourself aware of some of the financial implications of fundraising and sponsorship.


How does the process work?

In a nutshell: a constituent group (a parish, a church or community group) forms, raises the required funds, and with the Refugee Coordinator submits the paperwork to choose a family and begin the sponsorship process. After a period of time (from months to sometimes years!), the refugee(s) finally arrive in Canada. From the date of arrival for the following year, the constituent group is responsible for the material and social well-being of their refugees, using the funds raised and the volunteers recruited by the group.


Where do the refugees come from?

Although there is particular focus in 2015 on Syria, refugees come from many parts of the globe. It is estimated that there are nearly 20 million refugees currently displaced in the world. Many have been living years in refugee camps, with little hope of improving their situations.

In the specific case of Syrian refugees, at this time we are only allowed to accept sponsorships for those who are in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. We are neither able to sponsor those in other neighboring countries, nor those who remain in Syria itself.


Who are these refugees?

Refugees are fleeing war, persecution, poverty and other dangers in their home countries. They cannot return to their country. No one is a refugee by choice!

A refugee is, first and foremost, a human being, a person with rights and dignity. Despite their differences, all refugees in the world have one thing in common: they cannot live peacefully, in safety and dignity in their home country.


Where do I get more information?

There are several ways to gain more information about the refugee crisis and how private sponsorship in the Diocese works:
•Contact Refugee Coordinator (via email) to request a presentation in your parish, or to ask specific questions. The address is anglicanrefugeesns@gmail.com
•Take some time to review the resources posted below. There are answers to the most commonly asked questions in the various documents. This material covers most of the topics which arise in the presentations from the Task Group.
•If you are in the Halifax area, there are also periodic presentations offered by ISANS, with detailed information about sponsoring refugees. Please visit http://www.isans.ca/ {insert hyperlink} for more information.
•Find out if there is a local group already established in your area, and get involved! Please see the "list of parishes and Churches engaged in refugee sponsorship" below, to see which Churches are already working to bring refugees to their community.


What else can I do?

In addition to informing yourself, promoting the issue in your community, volunteering, fundraising and soliciting donations to PWRDF, we are asked to pray for the refugees. This may be during a liturgy or at a fixed time during the weekday; the specific time of noon on Tuesdays has been suggested. Please see the "prayer for refugees" listed below, or compose your own suitable intercession.