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Upper Valley Refugee Sponsorship: You can help!

posted Jul 14, 2014, 6:27 AM by UpperValleyPresbytery Webmaster   [ updated Dec 3, 2015, 2:19 PM ]

Refugee Sponsorship Update

Refugee sponsorship is very definitely an ongoing project of Upper Valley presbytery.

In 2014 we first sponsored a family of 3 women from Iran, who quickly became independent and moved to Toronto where they live with friends. They stay in touch and seem to be doing well.

In December 2014, a family of 3 (mother, and 2 children) arrived as refugees from Colombia. They remain in Pembroke, and we will soon celebrate their one-year anniversary of arrival in Canada.

In 2015, refugee sponsorship has become a much bigger project not only in Canada as a whole but in our presbytery. Upper Valley presbytery has offered to partner with other churches, other faith groups and with community groups in order to assist Syrians and other refugees from the war-torn Middle East. Here is our progress to date:

  • On Oct 14 an information session was held at Algonquin College in Pembroke to explain to anyone interested how the sponsorship process works and how they might get involved. As of November a number of sponsorship committees have been formed, some of them working through Upper Valley Presbytery and others working through other routes. All of us, however, keep in touch with the same goal in mind: helping refugees to start new lives.

  • Already relationships are building throughout the presbytery, with Muslims and Christians, Jews and unchurched folks, community organizations and individuals all working together.

  • Sponsorship groups that are working through our presbytery at this point include these:

    1. Upper Valley Presbytery-VALLEY WELCOME, based in Eganville where Melville UC is a core member along with the other churches and a large community group. Valley Welcome is about to welcome an extended family of 9.

    2. Upper Valley Presbytery-PROJECT WELCOME, based in Pembroke where numerous church members are working with a community-led team. Project Welcome has its settlement plan ready and hopes to have a family identified soon.

Recently, Presbytery executive approved the required motions of responsibility for sponsorship on behalf of 2 groups, Valley Welcome and Project Welcome. With these motions approved, both these groups can submit formal applications to sponsor the refugees whom they select.

    1. Trinity-St Andrews UC recently held a very well attended organizing meeting with TSA members, representatives of other churches and denominations as well as community members. They are making rapid progress in their settlement planning.

    2. Other sponsorship committees are also active and we are all working together, sharing resources and keeping each other informed. We are grateful to have developed a warm and supportive relationship with the Islamic Society which has a mosque in Deep River. The Muslim community has offered to support other sponsorship teams (for example with Arabic speakers) and is also working with the Anglican Church and the Community Church (United) in Deep River to sponsor Syrians.

    3. In Arnprior, too, an ecumenical sponsorship committee has been formed.

We look forward to seeing this new wave of refugees arriving soon. Thanks be to God

For more information please contact Lee Torvi at or 613-638-3283