Information for Churches:
This year MCRS has focused on the growing need for support for the reunification of local refugee families.
Many families are split up due to war and conflict – one family member escapes, taking a dangerous path that will bring them to Canada. If their refugee claim is accepted they can begin the process of bringing their loved ones to safety. However, they are often separated for prolonged periods, due to policies and practices that block or delay reunification. Sometimes they are forced to wait years to be reunited with their spouses and children overseas, who can be in situations of danger and persecution. Children are the hardest hit.
Barriers to their reunification might include a narrow definition of family (for example, the exclusion of non-biological children), costly and time-consuming DNA testing, or administrative delays. The cost of applications, visas, and travel expenses may also be a significant barrier.
But there are actions you can take to support these families!
- Your congregation can sponsor a family`s reunification through MCRS.
- Make your Easter service offering towards supporting families in this process, or host a fundraiser event.
- Pray for the health and peace of mind for the person here in Canada, often suffering tremendous psychological stress and worry. Pray for the children who are often disbursed and in dangerous physical circumstances, experiencing the impacts of prolonged separation from their parents. Pray for spousal relationships, for those separated from each other for so long.
You might like to add the note below to your bulletin, and use the short story during prayer time.
As we approach Refugee Rights Day on April 4th, and World Refugee Day on June 20th please think of the many families split up due to war and conflict. One family member may be accepted as a refugee, however, they are often separated from their spouse and children for years, due to extended processing times in Canada. Contact the Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support (MCRS) to learn more about how you could help! If you want to learn more about the work of MCRS please visit their website at https://www.mcrs.ca/ or email email@example.com.
A Local Refugee Story:
Meera worked in Human rights and women’s issues in Afghanistan and because of this her life was threatened. She fled to Waterloo, taking only the youngest of her 6 children, promising to bring her family to join her soon. It has been 5 years. She says, “My children still live in a county where every minute a bomb explodes and people kill each other with suicide, but I am safe here in Canada. I am so tired of this life, my eyes are tired, my feet are tired, my mind is tired. Every minute I worry about my children’s lives and wait for some bad news.” Please pray for her and the many other refugee families who are in the midst of Family Reunification process in Waterloo Region.
Learn more about Family Re-unification here