We don’t have an arrival date yet BUT on Thanksgiving Sunday, Fransis of our Translation Team was able to contact the father of the Syrian family we are sponsoring and have a brief telephone conversation. This is our first direct contact with the family.
The father, Khalil, said that he and his family are ok and that they have completed their paperwork and medical requirements. They are awaiting word from the government for next steps. Fransis explained to Khalil that there is a whole team of people eager and excited for their arrival in Canada and that we are holding them in our thoughts and prayers. This first contact went well and ended with a plan to stay in touch. We will keep you posted, too!
NeST (Newcomer Support Team) continues to prepare as we await word on an arrival date for the Syrian refugee family of 6 we are sponsoring, currently waiting in Jordan.
- About 51 NeST volunteers met for an Orientation Session at St. Stephen’s on Sept 18 and heard an update on each Team’s activities and preparations to date. Volunteers received copies of the NeST Volunteer Guidelines and (if applicable) Volunteer Driver Policies. Those who have completed the security screening for working directly with the family received their NeST nametags. This wonderful ‘village’ is patiently waiting to support the family when they come.
- Between individual donations, outreach contributions, two garage sales, St. Paul’s silent auction and the sale of quilts made by St. Stephen’s quilters, we have raised just over $40,000. This is a phenomenal response and gives us a strong financial base from which to support the family through their first year in Canada. Note that the anticipated partial government funding (6 months of support at social assistance levels) will be in addition to the above.
- Our sponsorship “undertaking” is in the processing queue. Once the Matching Centre has ensured all paperwork and requirements have been met, the Visa Office in Jordan will arrange travel for the family and send us notice of their pending arrival. We have been told to expect about 10 days’ lead time for their arrival in Calgary.
- Given the challenges of an unknown arrival time and perhaps a very short time to prepare permanent housing, we are still looking for temporary accommodation options. Please contact a NeST Team member if you have suggestions to offer that could be available on short notice.
- In lieu of the whole ‘village’ greeting the family in person upon their arrival we have begun collecting signs and good wishes for a small contingent of greeters to bring to the airport to represent the wider community. This is based on advice from other groups’ experiences of very exhausted travellers and long delays getting through customs at the airport. Our hope would be to arrange a larger welcoming celebration when the newcomers are better able to enjoy meeting everyone.
Kerri Singh, of Irish and Danish ancestry, was born and raised in southern Alberta. Married and with an eight year old son, she is the Founder and Photographer behind 2Create Photography, a childhood passion which she turned into a professional practise. Her clientele and commissions are global and with many noteworthy corporations and individuals, including Indian Royalty.
At her core Kerri Singh is truly a multifaceted artist. She uses the medium of photography to manifest her artistic expression. Early experimentations with the use of mixed media, watercolor, pastels, charcoals & drawing taught her that art has many detailed layers. She uses this knowledge with her photographic skills to create art, using the camera as her brush and the world as her inspiration.
In her quest to capture the beauty that she envisions in people, places and nature she has extensively travelled across Europe, Indian subcontinent and North America. The energy of a person or place and its emotional and spiritual vibrations are always important to her. Her work consists of balancing environmental portraiture and personal perspective. She captures the essence of her vision in documentary, theatrical or editorial styles then applies the metaphorical lens to create a spectacular memory, a moment in time.
She is currently working on art projects illustrating Women & Children of the streets in India, ‘Life in a Shopping Cart’ ( A documentary of homelessness in Canada) and Exotic Tastes of India.
She lives and works from Calgary, Canada. You can read more about her on her blog at www.kerrisingh.ca.
St. Stephen’s has been a long-time supporter of the queer community, dating back to the days of Integrity Calgary, which met monthly here for many years, including several Pride Eucharists. Now, the queer community has taken many steps toward acceptance in our broader society.
This weekend is Pride weekend in Calgary, and there are numerous events to take in. Two, in particular, may be of interest to St. Stephen’s parishioners. The Pride Parade starts at noon on Sunday, September 4th, and runs along 9th Avenue from City Hall to Shaw Millennium Park.
It’s a fabulous event, and groups as diverse as ATB, Hillhurst United Church, and politicians come together to celebrate Pride by marching. As the parade wraps up, attendees often tag along at the end of the parade as they make their way to Shaw Millennium Park.
There, they’ll find a family zone, a Village Brewery-sponsored beer garden, and a marketplace highlighting fantastic products and services of interest to all people. Admission is free, and it goes rain or shine!
St. Stephen’s has been a proud ally of the queer community for years, and that legacy can continue, with your support, this weekend. Hope to see you there!