For the congregation at Saanich Community Church, refugee sponsorship is a topic that hits close to home.
“Many of our families are descendants of refugees that emerged in Canada – German, Dutch, Russian,” said Pastor Ken Peters. “The Anabaptists, the Mennonites, were western European, migrating throughout Europe. Many wound up in Poland and then in Russia, more specifically Ukraine.”
That’s why the church is raising money to sponsor a refugee family through a benefit concert on Saturday, featuring a variety of amazing local talent. The show is the first of a series of public events to raise $50,000 to support a refugee family for a year.
“That’s a hefty sum of money for a small congregation such as ours, and we know that we are going to have to hold hands with the community, which we are wont to do,” said Peters. “We would like this to become a Royal Oak, Broadmead, Saanich investment to welcome newcomers into our neighbourhoods.”
While the refugee crisis in the Middle East has been in the headlines, Peters said the congregation is open to welcoming refugees from all over the world.
“There have been people waiting in the queue for 12 to 14 years in refugee camps stationed around the world,” he said. “Whether or not we sponsor an Iraqi family or a Syrian family or a family from Africa or elsewhere in the world, we’re open to what God will have us do.”
The April 30 concert lineup includes University of Victoria pianists Laura Altenmeuller, Louise and Iris Hung, and the Victoria Sings Youth Ensemble. The evening will also include a silent auction, and donations will be accepted at the event.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door. Seating is limited, so Peters recommends having tickets set aside by calling ahead at 250-479-0410 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit saanichcommunity.ca.