Three Ways Your Church Can Prepare to Welcome Refugee Claimants in the Post-Pandemic World How to make a difference in a refugee's journey in Canada.

Refugee claimants are those who cross international borders seeking reprieve from their trauma and safety from persecution. In 2019, 3850 refugee claimants arrived in British Columbia. In 2020, with the pandemic causing border closures and restrictions on international travel, there were still 2165 refugee claims made in BC.

In 2021, there is pent-up demand for those who are forcibly displaced to move to spaces of refuge. Government agencies are partnering with local organizations to plan and prepare for an anticipated surge in refugee claimant arrivals when the borders reopen.

Many of the people who arrive in Canada seeking refugee protection face numerous challenges and vulnerabilities. No one is there to meet them at the airport or border. They have no idea where to go or what to do next. Refugee claimants struggle to navigate complex systems and to meet their basic needs like finding shelter. Connecting to social networks, to people they can trust, is something they long for, yet struggle to make happen.

You can help.

This seminar presents information you can use to enable yourself and your church to welcome unsupported refugee claimants. Explore what it takes to effectively welcome refugee claimants, learn of ways to collaborate with local organizations, and bring your creativity and care to "welcome the stranger."

Three local Christian organizations are collaborating in this seminar to highlight the vulnerabilities of this population group, discuss the ethos of biblical kinship and offer practical opportunities for local church involvement in welcoming and walking with refugee claimants.

Resources

PDF file iconThree Ways Your Church Can Prepare to Welcome Refugee Claimants in the Post-Pandemic World (pdf, 5.258 MB)
PDF file iconRefugee Claimant Serving Organizations (pdf, 361.099 KB)

Speakers include:

Richard Belcham, Executive Director - Inasmuch Community Society

Richard Belcham is Executive Director of Inasmuch Community Society in Abbotsford and Co-Chair of MAP BC. Inasmuch provides transition housing, settlement services and customized employment support for refugee claimants in the Fraser Valley. He is a passionate advocate for refugee claimants and loves to remove barriers to service access, giving them the very best start to their new lives in Canada.

He has an extensive background in HR, corporate communications and marketing. Originally from the UK, Richard immigrated to Canada in 2011 and has been a resident of the Fraser Valley ever since.

Richard is also host of the Along the Way podcast featuring refugee stories.

Brad Kinnie, Program Manager - Journey Home Community

Born out of a church home group in 2005, Journey Home Community (JHC) offers refugee claimants housing, settlement support, and opportunities for connection. JHC strategically partners with local churches to expand its ability to meet the needs and provide a welcoming and inclusive experience for vulnerable refugee claimant families who are experiencing homelessness.

Brad Kinnie graduated from Regent College in 2012 with a Masters of Christian Studies focusing on the mission of the Church. He joined Journey Home Community in 2009 and has served as Program Manager for the past eight years.

On June 1, Brad will assume a new role as JHC’s Executive Director.

Loren Balisky, Director of Engagement - Kinbrace Community Society

Launched in 1998 as a neighbourhood initiative of Grandview Church, Kinbrace is BC’s longest-serving dedicated housing and support provider for refugee claimants. Guided daily by five core values - welcome, trust, mutual transformation, celebration, and prayer - Kinbrace is a learning and growing community of neighbours, churches, refugee claimants, and diverse others committed to a spacious welcome.

Loren Balisky is a Kinbrace co-founder and current Director of Engagement. His own quest for belonging inspires (in part) his welcome of people seeking refugee protection.

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About the author

Profile photo for John Hall

In 1997 John Hall, his wife Wei, and brother in-law started Eco Outdoor Sports in Metro Vancouver. In 2003 the business was sold, and his family entered a seven-year ‘desert experience’. During that time the Lord impressed on John and his family the importance of hearing and obeying Jesus every day, something that he tries to integrate into everything he does. In 2010 God changed the family’s direction and led him to finish his degree at Regent College in preparation for life as a full-time missionary overseas. That ministry opportunity didn’t develop as planned, as a whole new perspective and participation-in Christ’s mission was born at Missions Fest Vancouver. It’s now a daily occurrence for John’s business background and theological training to get a workout.

John served as the Executive Director at Mission Central (formerly Missions Fest Vancouver) from 2014 to April 2023.

John and Wei live in Richmond, BC. They have two wonderful adult girls. John completed his MA at Regent College in 2010.

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The Tapestry Church (Richmond, BC)

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