Sponsored Refugees Become Part of Parish Family

Article excerpt

Since the plight of Vietnamese boat people made headline news almost 20 years ago, St. Matthew's Anglican parish in downtown Winnipeg has been involved in sponsoring refugees to Canada.

They have been brought here from more than a dozen nations in Central America, South America, Southeast Asia and Africa.

The vast majority of them have turned out to be friends and valued contributors to the community, said parish rector Rev. Peter Flynn.

"What sustains us is the richness of the relationships that have developed," Canon Flynn said. "That and a concern for the conditions that create refugees in the first place and a sense that it is important for someone to do something."

St. Matthew's refugee program recently co-sponsored Thacienne Karuhije and her five children, a refugee family from Rwanda.

The program is run by a committee of lay people, whose primary function is to raise the considerable amount of money that sponsorship entails.

Typically, when the parish agrees to sponsor an individual or a family, it agrees to cover all their expenses for one year. …