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  • Writer's pictureSt Clements Church Toronto

Lenten Giving: Week 3 — Refugee Settlement

“Loving our Neighbours as Ourselves.”

The Lenten season offers us a special opportunity to focus on what Jesus Christ teaches us and to renew our spiritual and Christian life at St. Clement’s. Appropriately, part of that is renewing our commitment to care for and serve people in need in our neighbourhood, country and around the world. Each Sunday in Lent we are highlighting one of the five areas that St. Clement’s Outreach Ministry supports through your generous giving. We ask that you prayerfully consider how you might support one or more of these areas in 2023.


St. Clement’s has a long history of sharing the time, talents, and resources of our parish community with those who are less fortunate. Our community responded to the Syrian refugee crisis by sponsoring the Brimo family and Mariam Moussa who have embraced life in Canada and continue to remain in touch with members of the parish.

The Church also sponsored Mahari who escaped to Israel from a military dictatorship in Eritrea. Mahari is now living and working in Guelph. We welcomed Mahari’s cousin, Maharatab on March 9th. Maharatab, who has been living in Israel after escaping Eritrea, was to arrive with his cousin in 2019, but due to the pandemic his application was paused for almost three years. He has been waiting patiently to come to Canada and we are excited to help him settle in his new home. Maharatab has a 14-year-old daughter, who he had to leave when she was very young when he fled Eritrea. We are hoping that she will be able to join him in the future and we can help with her sponsorship.

The Eritrean Tekele family (Simret, Tesfa and their 2 boys), was welcomed to Toronto in December 2021 as part of a community sponsorship between the Church and a neighbourhood Jewish group. In December 2022 the family’s eldest teenage son joined them in Canada. Their son was living with family in Eritrea and Ethiopia, and he had not been together with his parents since he was one year old. In late 2022, the community sponsorship was extended to add Simret’s brother, and it is anticipated that it will be 2-3 years before he will arrive in Canada. The Church provides administrative and spiritual support in connection with the community sponsorships, and we have been sharing our experiences with the community sponsors and helping with resources, such as clothing and tutoring.

The current crises in Afghanistan and Ukraine is causing widespread displacement and the Outreach Committee is pursuing ways to assist with the resettlement of refugees from these regions. Actions taken by the Church to support resettlement have included donations to organizations such as the Red Cross and AURA (Anglican United Refugee Alliance) and providing clothing and toiletries to newcomers. Additional initiatives will be considered in 2023.

The support of newcomers to Canada has only been possible through the generosity of the people of our parish, who have variously contributed their time, talents, and financial support as they have been able. Significantly, our parish has stepped forward to give back to God with funds raised to finance the sponsorships and through this outreach we have changed peoples’ lives and enabled new hopes.

Donations to Refugee Settlement or any of the 2023 Lenten Giving causes can be made through the Donate page on stclementsto.ca/give, the CanadaHelps website canadahelps.org/en/charities/the-church-of-st-clement-eglinton/ or cash, cheque, credit card placed on the collection plate, in the mail or dropped off at the church. Please ensure you indicate the weekly Lenten cause that you are supporting with your donation or if you are choosing to give to the General Outreach program.

For more information please pick up the 2023 Lenten Giving brochure from the Welcome Hub or email outreach@stclementsto.ca

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