Finding Our Way: Immigrants, Refugees and Canadian Churches

2015, 31 pp
This Guide is for congregational leaders and congregational members. It’s for immigrants, refugees, and Canadian-born alike. As the title of this Guide suggests, we invite you all to join us in “finding our way” together. The Guide is organized into four sections designed to explore the following questions:
  • Where are we?
  • Why should we get involved?
  • What could we do?
  • How can we learn from one another?
Finding our way connects with the lived reality of recent immigrants and refugees. Think of a phrase like “they found their way to Canada” as you think about an individual refugee or an immigrant family you know. What were the obstacles that made “finding their way” difficult? What were the factors that eased their arrival in Canada? Once an individual or a family arrives in Canada, what are the everyday realities that help or hinder their initial settlement or their longer term integration into their new homeland?

Finding our way connects with the reality of churches in Canada today. In just one generation the communities around our churches have become so much more diverse. And immigration trends are projected to only continue this transformation. Whether your church is made up of immigrants and refugees, of Canadian-born, or a mixture of both, we all need to re-discover the calling of what it means to be a faithful church within our rapidly changing communities.

Finding our way also connects with the reality of biblical narrative. Think of the Exodus story when God leads the people out of slavery: “The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the Way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light so that they might travel by day and by night” (Exodus 13:21). In the first few centuries after Jesus, the earliest forms of church consisted of Christians living together in a certain style, manner, or “way” that they believed was most faithful to the teachings of Jesus. In fact, people referred to members of the early church as members of “the Way” (Acts chapters 9, 19, and 24).

In the following pages, we hope to bring together these three realities. We do this by offering some concrete ways for you to “be the church” and to “do the work of the church”. For simplicity, we refer to all these ways as “wayfinding actions” even though the word “action” sometimes doesn’t capture the fact that being a certain way can be just as powerful (or more powerful) than acting in a certain way. “Finding our way” says something both about our future destination, as well as the manner in which we move toward our destination.

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