Category: Refugee

News from the refugee committee or related to refugees

Keeping Our Ethical Base Strong – UCV & the World

At the UCV Partner Church Sunday Service on 22 Nov 2020 and at the subsequent forum on Unitarian Social Involvement in African Contexts we gathered together virtually with fellow Unitarians from Burundi and some of their supporters elsewhere in Canada. The connections UCV has had in this work are interesting. We’ve been meeting and corresponding with Rev Fulgence Ndagijimana for a number of years now, beginning with emails of support when he was imprisoned in Burundi and we joined other international voices of concern that helped have him released. He eventually made his way safely with his wife and son to Saskatoon as refugees, where he finalized some of his UU Ministry Association credentials, and established Flaming Chalice International (FCI), a Canadian Registered Charity. (That means Canadians can make donations directly to FCI and obtain a charitable donation receipt for income tax purposes.)

Rev Fulgence was the founder of the Burundian Unitarian Church in 2002 and is active in the International Council of Unitarian Universalist (ICUU). He recently moved from Saskatoon to Ottawa (“mon pays…c’est l’hiver!”) where there is a larger Burundian community. He remains active with FCI as well as supporting other community initiatives including the emerging Rutana Burundi / Vancouver Canada Partner Church Relationship.

This week, Rev Fulgence told me about a UU connection that I didn’t know about, namely, the support for Burundian community economic initiatives by Spirit in Action, (their slogan is “micro grants, major change”), an inter-denominational US-based charity that began in the mid twentieth century, and whose current Executive Director is Tanya Cothran, a Unitarian. Tanya lives part time in California and part-time in Toronto where she is a member of the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto.  Tanya also served for several years as Treasurer of the Canadian Unitarian Council She travels regularly to Africa to meet with grant recipients and potential new recipients, and in 2017 she co-authored with Jennifer Lentfer the book Smart Risks: How small grants are helping to solve some of the world’s biggest problems.

The deep message, for me, in these supportive connections is the value of our Unitarian Principles and Sources, particularly Principles #1, #2 and #6 which state:

“We, the member congregations of the Canadian Unitarian Council, covenant to affirm and promote:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations;
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.”

I’ve intentionally included lots of links in this story (ten, I believe) to highlight the complex and surprising interdependent social and ethical web of which we are a part. That web needs on-going attention as old links end and new engagements emerge. That’s what steady organizations like Vancouver Unitarians, Toronto Unitarians, and the Canadian Unitarian Council provide. When we give to charities like FCI and SIA that provide direct support for people in need, whether they be refugees or people working hard to build better lives for themselves in their own countries, we should also remember to give, I believe, to some of the organizations that act to coordinate and facilitate that support. So—I hope you’ll donate to one of these boots-on-the-ground enterprises, and also to Vancouver Unitarians for our members, minister, and staff to use in
keeping our ethical base strong.

 

Photos:

Left – Tanya Cothran, Executive Director, Spirit in Action (SIA).

Top – Rev Fulgence Ndagijimana, Flaming Chalice International (FCI).

Reassessing Canadian Foreign Policy

Reassessing Canadian Foreign Policy

Our UCV Board approved a motion that Vancouver Unitarians become a signatory to a national campaign calling for a fundamental reassessment of Canadian foreign policy. Our federal government is widely criticized for it’s continuing support for controversial mining companies, indifference to International treaties, anti-Palestinian positions, climate policies and militarism. And, this may be why Canada lost two consecutive efforts to gain a seat on the UN Security Council. Big thanks to the Environment Team for bringing this motion to the Board.
 
Here is a link to the campaign where you may sign on as an individual. And here is more information about the campaign for endorsers.

Sign your name to support this campaign:

Endorser Guide:

Action Evenings

Learn Together, Act Together! 

On Wednesday evenings 7-8pm via Zoom, we’ll reflect together on significant issues of our times. Topics are curated and prepared in advance with videos, speakers, slideshows, and discussion points. This meeting offers a chance for shared learning, thoughtful dialogue, and the potential for collaboration for taking action.

All members and friends of UCV are welcome!

 

How to Join and What to Expect

Log in to our Zoom room ucv.im/action-evenings early from 6:45pm on Wednesday evenings as we’ll be starting right at 7. 

After 8, you are welcome to stay for a while to chat about the topic and exchange ideas for action.

You are not required to have any prior knowledge of the topic.

Upcoming Events

Wed, Dec 9, 2020
7:00 pm
Action Evenings - Amnesty International's "Write for Rights" Campaign

Past Event Recordings

To see all past event recordings, please visit the Action Evenings YouTube Playlist

 

Action Evenings Schedule

December 16 – Activist R&R: Adapting to a Covid Christmas
December 9 – Amnesty International’s “Write for Rights” Campaign
December 2 – Eco Friendly Endings: The Green New Deal of Deathcare
November 25 – Gender Fluid Book Reading
November 18 – Trans Rights in the Workplace
November 4 – Compost and Permaculture
October 28 – Is Canada on the Verge of Developing the Political Will to End Homelessness?
October 14 – Roberts Bank Terminal 2
October 7 – Saving the Salmon Nourished EcoSystem of Our Coast
September 30 – Reconciliation is a Massive Failure
September 23 – Evolving Pathways of Nonviolence
September 16 – From Food Charity to Food Dignity
September 9 – What’s This About Tree Sitters?

 

Sign-Up for Updates and Reminders!

If you would like to sign-up to receive email reminders, meeting links, and updates about this recurring event, please sign up for the Action Evenings Updates below:

Refugee committee update

An update from our Refugee Committee – December 27, 2019
  • The refugee committee continues its efforts to bring people to safety.
  • Jean B who has been attending our services regularly as a Unitarian is finally settled, sharing a 2 bedroom suite in Surrey with Jean Pierre, a friend .They are both working full time at Amazon in Delta. J B is registered for English classes .He is already at level 4 which means he has already a significant knowledge of English.
  • We were given 10 spaces for the last few months of  2019 to apply for sponsorships. We proceeded immediately to have a Syrian family of 5 plus their friend to apply. We have been accepted as their sponsor.
  • We also put an application for 3 Eritrean single young men and we also have been accepted as their sponsors. This is the first step for the file to go to the required embassies abroad (Aman and Tel Aviv respectively).
  • We had one spot left and we are sending an application for one young Syrian man refugee in the Emirates.
This completes our allocations given for this year to us as a New SAH (Sponsorship Agreement Holder). In 2020, we will be receiving some allocations. We do not know yet how many but we have to start fund raising if we are to continue bringing people to safety. It requires $16,500 for one individual to support them for one year which is what we are required to do minus some deductions if furniture etc.. is donated.
We are going to need everyone support in this endeavour. Julia has a table at church every Sunday. We will organize some events during the year. Everyone is welcome to bring their ideas and join the fund raising spearheaded by Catherine Stewart. We have wonderful dedicated refugee committee members .We welcome anybody who wants to join or know more about what we are doing.
For 2020, we would like to be able to bring our Unitarian Burundians refugees in Rwanda who are in a very precarious situation and precarious safety as the militia cross the border easily to target them .We have been recommended by Fulgence, Burundian refugee Reverend in Saskatoon who is now a permanent resident of Canada.
You can also always make donations to the Sheilah Thompson Refugee Fund in which case you will receive a tax receipt.
Thank you for all your help. A very special  thank you to Karen Brumelle who donated her art and raised funds for the refugee committee.
If we get extra spaces we will be preparing applications for a family of five and a family of four‎ as long as we can raise the necessary funds.
– from Huguette.
See also the group that Paul Prescod is involved with supporting.
Stop by the Refugee Committee‘s fundraising table any Sunday or contact the committee to support, donate or ask questions.

Support Unitarian Burundi Refugees

This family from Burundi have been in Rwanda for four years.They are Unitarians.
from Rev. Fulgence (in Saskatoon) 

Voici la photo d’Agricole et sa famille. Il m’a dit que c’est correct de partager la photo avec les membres de l’Eglise.

Merci beaucoup, Huguette. Tes efforts pour aider les Unitariens burundais sont bien appréciés.
Fulgence

Preview: Art for Refugees on Twitter

Art for Refugees is a silent auction of artwork by Karen Brumelle with all proceeds to the refugee committee. The art is on display in the Fireside room from December 1 to 22.

Preview: Art for Refugees (@UnitarianUCV) – click on that link to see tweets with images of art for sale in the silent auction. (You do not need a Twitter account for this.) Twitter may crop images, so always click on an image displayed with a tweet to be sure you see all of it.

The image featured in this post is displayed with this tweet.

An image of another painting in the silent auction is displayed with this tweet.

And you can scroll through all such tweets to preview some of the art on sale in Fireside.

Come view the actual artwork and write your first bids when the exhibit opens on December 1.

You can review bids and bid or rebid on any day. Bidding closes at 12:15 pm on December 22.

Support the wonderful work of the refugee committee – get some art for yourself or as a gift.

 


notes and links

featured image from silent auction

artist’s website: brumelleart.com

in these notes, DuckDuckGo bang commands (!?) link to search results for words they follow when the commands are in parentheses, for words they precede when they are not:

!ucv refugee committee / a search on the UCV website

!tw “Art for Refugees” (@UnitarianUCV) / a search on Twitter

the Merriam-Webster definition of a silent auction (!mw) notwithstanding, the written bids in Art for Refugees are not sealed but displayed with the art

A silent auction: Art for Refugees

Art for Refugees is a silent auction of artwork by Karen Brumelle with all proceeds to the refugee committee. The art is on display in the Fireside room from December 1 to 22.

Come view the artwork and write your first bids when the exhibit opens on December 1.

You can review bids and bid or rebid on any day. Bidding closes at 12:15 pm on December 22.

Support the wonderful work of the refugee committee – get some art for yourself or as a gift.

Preview: Art for Refugees (@UnitarianUCV) – click on that link to see tweets with images of art for sale in the silent auction. (You do not need a Twitter account for this.)

 


notes and links

featured image from silent auction

artist’s website: brumelleart.com

in these notes, DuckDuckGo bang commands (!?) link to search results for words they follow when the commands are in parentheses, for words they precede when they are not:

!ucv refugee committee / a search on the UCV website

!tw “Art for Refugees” (@UnitarianUCV) / a search on Twitter

the Merriam-Webster definition of a silent auction (!mw) notwithstanding, the written bids in Art for Refugees are not sealed but displayed with the art

Refugee committee update

An update from our Refugee Committee – September 23, 2019
  • Two refugees received their Canadian citizenship recently. This was very moving as they were Palestinians and stateless their whole life.
  • One Syrian family of three (mom, dad and three-year-old daughter) are finishing their sponsorship year. The father is working. They are continuing their English lessons.
  • We have sent applications for an Iraqi family of four
  • And for one young Iranian LGBT woman refugee in Turkey and one Iranian LGBT young man.
  • We are waiting for the arrival of Jean, a Unitarian Burundian refugee in Rwanda but we do not know when.
  • We also welcomed four single young Eritrean refugees in Israel this year. They are all working in the day time and learning English in the evening‎.
  • The four young Eritrean‎ men refugees in Israel who arrived at the beginning of last year have completed their sponsorship year at the beginning of 2019. They are all working full time.
  • We are preparing an application for a single mom and her young daughter from Iran refugees in Turkey who have family in Vancouver.
If we get extra spaces we will be preparing applications for a family of five and a family of four‎ as long as we can raise the necessary funds.
– from Huguette.
See also the group that Paul Prescod is involved with supporting.
Stop by the Refugee Committee‘s fundraising table any Sunday or contact the committee to support, donate or ask questions.

Volunteer Reporters for Refugee Committee and Visual Arts

UCV REPORTERS NEEDED – REFUGEE COMMITTEE AND VISUAL ARTS

The communications committee is looking for “reporters” (one or two) to write up news, collect/take photos and post on the website updates for the Refugee Committee and the Visual Arts committee.
This would involve talking with committee news, writing up an article, sending to the committee for any additions or corrections, asking for photos, taking some (with permission of course) or finding images online to illustrate the content. For the arts committee, the article could be in the style of a review and ideally interviewing and photographing that month’s artist. (You do not need to attend meetings but of course you could.) Most if not all of this work could be done from home with a phone and computer. You would need to take the Feb. 23 workshop on how to post an article to the website. Apply to communications@vancouverunitarians.ca