Current Lakeshore Social Action Initiatives

Lakshore Unitarian Universalist Congregation is spiritual community which, through social action, tries to put into practice the second of our faith’s Seven Principles, Justice, equity and compassion in human relations.

  • Support for Suitcases for Africa (SFA)
  • Food Bank collection: West Island Assistance Fund – Roxboro
  • Raising funds and advocating for Child Haven. Our most recent Child Haven Dinner (our 20th) was held on 4 November 2017.
  • Partnering with Maple Grove School in Lachine to supply Christmas Hampers
  • Knitting Squares: decorative blankets for veterans; sleeping mats for Suitcases for Africa (SFA)
  • Services on Native Rights
  • Services on Climate Change
  • RE Program: DOT (Do One Thing) to conserve and protect our environment
  • Partnering with other West Island churches to sponsor a Syrian refugee family

Social action for indigenous rights

Preparing for our Syrian refugee family: Social Action in Time and Space

We are quickly learning that sponsoring a Syrian refugee family is a long process of rushing to meet tight deadlines, and then trying to wait patiently for the next step. It is a kind of social action working at two speeds and a two distances, local and international.

After several months of diligent work to create an official sponsorship agreement between Summerlea United Church (which has taken on the sponsorship role), our Lakeshore UU Congregation and Merging Waters (Beaurepaire United and Union Church), our final detailed refugee sponsorship proposal was sent by Action Réfugiés Montréal (ARM) to the Quebec government in April 2016. Collectively, we had raised the required $32,000, and we are now matched with the family of Bilal Kernazi, currently living in Saudi Arabia under visitor’s visas after fleeing Syria about a year ago.

During the Spring, we met with Bilal’s brother, Salman Karnazi, who is serving as our co-sponsor to bring Bilal, his wife Farah, and four young children to Montreal. Salman arrived in Montreal seven years ago, and he has offered to use his own experiences and learnings to take on many of the welcoming, orientation, integration and support roles for his brother and family.

Now, we wait (although it is difficult to be patient). We know that the Canadian officials in Saudi Arabia received the approved sponsorship applications for Bilal and his family on July 5, 2016. That is step 1 of 5 that must be completed before our family is formally approved and receive their visas and airline tickets to come to Montreal. There is a formal review of the documentation to be done first, then an interview appointment to be set by Canadian officials, then the interview, followed by medical and security checks for the family. Those “in the know” tell us this could take anywhere from 4 to 24 months! We will keep you informed…..

Sheila Laursen

Steering Committee Members of the Summerlea Refugee Support Coalition are:

Summerlea United

  • Nancy Mark, Sinclair Harris, John Osborne and Richard Legault

Merging Waters

  • Susan Hawker, Wendy Buchanan and Libby Monaco

Lakeshore Unitarian Universalist

  • Sari Kelen, Susan Czarnocki and Sheila Laursen

Supporting the Red Dress Project