|River of Hope: Refugee Sponsorship
St. Mark’s Church has joined with St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Port Hope and St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Perrytown to sponsor and support a refugee family in Port Hope. The Anglican Church has a long tradition of joining with other Canadians to sponsor refugees from around the world. The churches will be working with AURA, the Anglican United Refugee Alliance. AURA represents the Anglican Diocese of Toronto and the Toronto Conference of the United Church of Canada as a Sponsorship Agreement holder with Citizenship and Immigration Canada. AURA has over thirty years of experience with successful refugee settlement in Canada.
The three Port Hope Anglican churches have formed the River of Hope: Refugee Sponsorship Steering Committee. The Steering Committee has two representatives from each church (Nola McDonald and Sue Essig from St. Mark’s, Penny Burgess and Deb Chapman from St. John’s, and Patricia Sinnott and Tom Sears from St. Paul’s) and two members at large from the community (Ricarda Renner and Bruce Williamson). The River of Hope: Refugee Sponsorship officers are Nola McDonald, Chair; Penny Burgess, Vice Chair and Treasurer; Tom Sears Secretary. The River of Hope: Refugee Sponsorship is registered with AURA, and will be guided and supported by that experience organization every step of the way.
It is a real tribute to our Port Hope/Cobourg community that a number of other sponsorship initiatives are underway. The presence of several families and individuals will be a helpful social and cultural support to all. The River of Hope: Refugee Sponsorship group plans to liaise with others to provide, wherever possible, common programs and resources.
The Steering Committee is working on a settlement plan to assist a family for one year, as they make their home in our community. The group is hoping to raise $40,000.00, the amount required to meet the living cost of a family for one year.
The River of Hope: Refugee Sponsorship invites donations from the community and parishioners. Each of the three Anglican churches has established a dedicated account for Refugee Sponsorship. All donations are eligible for a tax receipt from the receiving church. Cheques should be made out to St. Mark’s Anglican Church with “River of Hope: Refugee Sponsorship on the memo line. The committee welcomes offers of volunteer assistance, particularly after our family arrives, which will be in 2016.
Those of us on the Steering Committee will be taking a training course from AURA in early January to help guide us in preparing for the arrival of our refugee family. We will keep you up to date on our progress and our need for further volunteers.
Mindful of Our Lord’s commandment, members of St Mark’s Church have a long history of involvement in Outreach projects, both collectively and as individuals. Our primary project is FaithWorks, the Annual Appeal of the Diocese of Toronto that raises funds for the delivery of direct, practical assistance to those in need or at risk. Year after year, St Mark’s is recognized as a lead parish in the campaign. A proportion of the FaithWorks funds is directed to local parish projects – and in 2013, on the recommendation of the Outreach and Social Justice Committee, St Mark’s entered into an Outreach Sponsorship of Green Wood Coalition, with a goal of $5000 for the year.Green Wood Coalition has been working with people who live in poverty in Port Hope since 2006, and St Mark’s has been active with their Dinner Program for several years.Green Wood is a community-based, grass roots organization with a Vision of Hope and a Mission to provide shoulder to shoulder support to enable people to reach their potential. We invite you to read more about Green Wood Coalition here.
|Every week we collect non-perishable food donations for Fare Share, the local food bank, in this basket in the narthex. A smaller basket, containing one or two of the items, representative of these, is presented at the altar at the 10.30 a.m. service each Sunday. We pray that we will continue to keep the basket filled. Information about Northumberland Fare Share can be found here.|