David Hearn, President of The Christian & Missionary Alliance in Canada, recently had this to say about the Middle East refugee crisis:

“The Middle East is a place of intense desperation. We are seeing a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions and the levels of anguish and suffering are growing every day. It is in these dark moments of human history that the Church must take a stand and engage in helping the helpless. We must step into the gap and open our hearts and homes to the refugees, particularly in Syria and Iraq. We must boldly join together across denomination lines to respond with love and compassion to those who have no hope. Right now the doors are open, and we have the resources to bring families to Canada for a fresh start. Now is the time. We can make a profound difference.”

We at The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) recognize that we’re in a privileged position when asked to support a multi-denominational witness to Jesus’ care for the vulnerable. Last November, when David Hearn and other leaders of denominations and organizations affiliated with the EFC gathered together, we were asked to facilitate collaboration among evangelical denominations and organizations that wanted to mobilize churches in response to the tremendous need to settle refugees from Syria and Iraq.

The Middle East Refugees Resettlement Initiative has enabled evangelical Christians from 16 denominations to participate in advocacy efforts with the Canadian government, and to share resources in mobilizing church communities to sponsor qualified refugee families. A key milestone in the Initiative was the development of a “Statement of Intent,” signed by denominational and organizational leaders, and presented in March to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, The Hon. Chris Alexander, and other department officials.

In their own words, these leaders stated, “The tremendous need of refugees and displaced people in the Middle East requires a bold and compassionate response,” and went on say,  “We commit to recruiting congregations across Canada who will sponsor refugee families from Iraq and Syria, welcome and befriend them, provide new homes for them and help them integrate into Canadian society where they can live in freedom.”

By grounding their commitment in God’s commands in Scripture “to love our neighbour and care for the vulnerable, the needy and oppressed,” including “the stranger, the alien, and the sojourner,” these leaders presented a strong example of their shared mission to proclaim Christ’s love in word and deed to those in difficult circumstances.

Over the next few months, we’ll be blogging on various aspects of the Middle East Refugees Resettlement Initiative. You can find out more about it at any time by going to the Initiative webpage on the EFC website.

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