Refugee sup­port con­tin­ues to grow

Par­adise group meets to con­sider spon­sor­ing an­other fam­ily


The group that was first to start the process of bring­ing refugees to the re­gion through the Bap­tist Church is look­ing at a re­peat per­for­mance.

Paul Carline couldn’t be happier. He’s the di­rec­tor of In­ter­cul­tural Min­istries with the Cana­dian Bap­tists of At­lantic Canada and spent Sun­day in Par­adise where just two years ago a tiny con­gre­ga­tion strug­gling to sur­vive brought an Iraqi mother and her five daugh­ters half­way around the world and cared for them for a year.

“They were our first church out of the block,” said Carline of Saint John, NB. “I had just sent an email to our na­tional of­fice say­ing we were go­ing to set a goal of bring­ing 50 fam­i­lies to At­lantic Canada (which was a huge step for us be­cause be­fore that we were only spon­sor­ing about one fam­ily a year). I had no sooner sent that email than my phone rang and it was Gor­don Hay, one of the lead­ers of the church here say­ing that they felt – they’d never done any­thing like this be­fore - God wanted them to spon­sor a Syrian refugee fam­ily. To me it was a gift. It was just a con­fir­ma­tion that we were head­ing in the right di­rec­tion.”

Fol­lowed Through

Carline and his as­sis­tant, plus nu­mer­ous church and com­mu­nity groups, have been re­spon­si­ble for bring­ing 100 refugee fam­i­lies – 500 peo­ple – to At­lantic Canada over the past two years.

It started with Hay and the group Par­adise Refugee Sup­port.

“I came out here to meet with them,” Carline said. “It was March 7, 2015. Twenty peo­ple in Gor­don and Carol’s liv­ing room from about nine dif­fer­ent churches and var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties. So it was won­der­ful that the Par­adise group or­ga­nized, not just the lit­tle church here, but they part­nered with the Bridgetown church and with the com­mu­nity. It was a com­mu­nity ef­fort.”

But Carline was fur­ther amazed that not only did they spon­sor a refugee fam­ily, the Par­adise group helped start about six other groups that also spon­sored fam­i­lies - and con­ducted a lot of the train­ing in this area.

“We’re still let­ting churches know that it’s still pos­si­ble to spon­sor. There’s still lots of refugees out there,” said Carline.

At Sun­day’s Par­adise meet­ing there were rep­re­sen­ta­tives from groups in Mid­dle­ton, Bear River, Bridgetown, and Digby.

“What we wanted to do to­day was to bring to­gether some peo­ple who had been in­volved in re­cent refugee spon­sor­ship and just take a pulse and see if there’s an op­por­tu­nity to move for­ward in that way in the fu­ture, in the near fu­ture ac­tu­ally,” said Par­adise Pas­tor Mark Reece.

Need Ex­ists

Reece said Carline iden­ti­fied and un­der­scored the need that ex­ists in places like Syria and the Mid­dle East, and even in East Africa.

“What we’re see­ing an in­crease in now is groups help­ing al­ready-ar­rived fam­i­lies to bring their rel­a­tives,” said Carline. “Sort of the echo ef­fect, which is our pri­or­ity. That’s the kind of spon­sor­ship that we re­ally are en­cour­ag­ing.”

“We’ve been dis­cussing that we need to do some­thing more, that it’s not enough to come to church and sit in the pews -- that that is not what we’re sup­posed to be do­ing,” said Dea­con Susan Saun­ders. “We’re sup­posed to be act­ing and find­ing needs and act­ing on those needs and help­ing peo­ple. And it seems to be a need that’s close to our hearts. It was suc­cess­ful last time, I think, from all per­spec­tives.”

She said there were some, her­self in­cluded, who were a lit­tle hes­i­tant at the be­gin­ning.

“Then as it started to build mo­men­tum I could see it was a pos­i­tive thing,” said Saun­ders who wants to take a more ac­tive role this time. “I see our group, along with the com­mu­nity, maybe start­ing that again.”

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Rev. Paul Carline, di­rec­tor of In­ter­cul­tural Min­istries with the Cana­dian Bap­tists of At­lantic Canada, was in Par­adise on Feb. 13 to up­date the Par­adise Bap­tist Church con­gre­ga­tion on the lat­est plans to bring refugees to the re­gion. He said the need...

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