Citizen politics, unlike party politics, does not seek to change government, but to improve it by watchfulness, oversight and advice
- Ursula Franklin

Message from St. Thomas’s Refugee Committee


On October 27, St. Thomas’s established a Refugee Committee to initiate private sponsorship of refugees. Our Refugee Committee includes not only St. Thomas’s parishioners, but also neighbours from the Huron-Sussex area, making it a community-wide effort.

Private sponsorship is a federal government program that involves sponsors being matched with refugees eligible to come to Canada. The sponsors undertake both a financial commitment and a social commitment: sponsors are required to assist refugees for their first year after arrival, providing everything reasonably required for life in Toronto, from rent to assistance with school enrollment and ESL training. St. Thomas’s Refugee Committee is working with AURA (Anglican United Refugee Alliance) on this initiative.

The Refugee Committee set goals to raise sufficient funds and to locate housing capable of supporting a refugee family of four or more. Our initiative has already passed several important milestones. The November 20 fundraising concert at the church raised over $7,500 in donations. Since then we have received another $25,000 in donations.

In early 2015 we will be hosting a “shower” social event in the Parish Hall where we will ask guests to bring household items as gifts for our sponsored refugees. Details will follow. The Refugee Committee is aiming to submit its application to AURA to request a case at the end of February.

For 15 years beginning in 1979, St. Thomas’s was actively involved in refugee sponsorship. The response to St. Thomas’s current refugee initiative, and the support provided by our neighbours, has been tremendous and we hope that refugee sponsorship will once again become a consistent feature in the life of St. Thomas’s.

If you have any questions about St. Thomas’s refugee initiative, or you are interested in making a donation or volunteering, please contact Andrew Gray by email at or Father Rob Mitchell at

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