Thank-you from Maple Grove School
Assistance for Syrian Refugees:
Preparing for our Syrian refugee family
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. 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 haare 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 4 young children to Montreal. Salman arrived in Montreal 7 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.....
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 Rosalie Armstrong
- Lakeshore Unitarian Universalist
- Sari Kelen, Susan Czarnocki and Sheila Laursen
Supporting the RED DRESS PROJECT
- Calling for an inquiry into the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women:
- About the red-dress project
- About the artist who inspired it
Focusing on action:
UUism has seven principles that define what we should strive for. But more importantly it encourages those who join this movement to act: to be in the world what you want to see in the world. The process applies not only to the actions of individual members, but to the activities of the entire membership.
Social Action Committee (SAC) Activities:
At its recent meeting, the Social Justice Committee supported a petition for Canada to undertake swift approval for Syrian refugees to enter Canada.
The committee is working with other groups interested in actually sponsoring a Syrian refugee family.Other issues we want to address are:
- Advocating for a serious national response to the Report on Truth and Reconciliation for Residential school survivors
- responding to the challenge of climatae change
- Women's rights and reproductive rights.
- Local issues: bullying, poverty and mental illness.
Current LUUC Activities
- Support for Suitcases for Africa (SFA)
- Food Bank collection: Fonds de depannage -- Roxboro
- Raising funds and advocating for Childhaven. Our next Child Haven Dinner (Our 18th) will be held on Sept. 25, 2015)
- Partnering with Maple Grove School to supply Christmas Hampers and Gifts
- Knitting Squares: decorative blankets for veterans; sleeping mats for SFA.
- Services on Native Rights
- Services on Climate Change
- RE Program: DOT (Do One Thing) to conserve and protect our environment
History of LUUC's Social Action
Across its 60 Years of existence, LUUC has an extensive record of social action.
LUUC has taken a leadership role:
1950's: Unitarian Service Committee collections; Sponsorship of a Hungarian family.
1960's: Providing Family Planning counseling, including access to abortion, although it was prohibited by law.
1970's: Sponsorship of a Vietnamese Boat Family.
Memorial Association: begun by Adrian Bonnier.
1980's: AIDS: engaged immediately to educate about Aids issue. Provided information on how it can or can't be transmitted, etc.
S.T.O.P.( Society to Overcome Pollution) Citizens' collection of newspaper and glass.
1990's: Dying with dignity; Fair trade coffee.
2000's: We became a Welcoming Congregation.