Syrian refugee children outside a temporary home, in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. Photo by Russell Watkins/UK Department for International Development, via Wikimedia Commons

Call to Prayer and Action

The following statement by Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and Adele Finney, executive director of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), in response to the Syrian refugee crisis was originally posted on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015 at the PWRDF website.

The Turkish policeman is us. Aylan Kurdi is our child. We knew that in the first moment we saw their pictures in today’s papers. We knew that in our gut, and when our heart’s cry poured out through our eyes. Our senses involuntarily respond and urgently demand that we act individually and as a human community.

Let us pray, holding within ourselves a space for the bereaved and desperate refugees, and allow their presence within us to engender the action we take to meet their need.

Through The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), the official development and relief agency of the Anglican Church, Canadian Anglicans have supported emergency relief and long-term development programs for refugees overseas since the agency’s founding in 1959. PWRDF is currently supporting food aid to Syrian refugees through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. You can designate an online donation for “Syria Response” here. See other ways to donate below.

Let us work with other churches and our communities to sponsor refugee families.

Anglican parishes across the country have participated actively in Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program (PRSP) since its inception in 1979, welcoming and settling literally thousands of refugees to Canada and into their communities and lives. Currently, 14 Anglican dioceses are Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

Let us call, write and speak to Government of Canada leaders and candidates to unite for:

  • Expediting applications of asylum seekers and those seeking resettlement in Canada, with flexible measures (such as Temporary Resident Permits) for Syrians with family in Canada.
  • Increasing the number of resettlement spaces for Syrians to a minimum of 10,000 available to Government-Assisted Refugees, with selection based solely on need
  • Upholding the principle of “additionality” that recognizes that all privately sponsored refugees are in addition to and not in place of Government commitments to resettlement
  • Elimination of barriers to the private sponsorship of refugees, including re-instatement of full Interim Federal Health coverage for both privately sponsored refugees and refugee claimants and lifting of the document requirements for Group of Five sponsorships.

In an open letter to political party leaders in August the Primate wrote, “May your ears and your hearts be open to the call of Canadians for compassion, justice and reason…Our own actions are what give meaning to our words as we share our abundance through greater international assistance, welcome refugees…and work for peace.”

In times past Canada has taken extraordinary measures to welcome refugees in crisis. It is time for us to do so again.

Archbishop Fred J. Hiltz
Primate, Anglican Church of Canada

Adele Finney, Executive Director
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund


You can designate your online donation for “Syria Response”.

 By Phone

For credit card donations contact:
Jennifer Brown
416-924-9192 ext. 355; 1-866-308-7973
Please do not send your credit card number by email or fax.

 By Mail

Please make cheques payable to “PWRDF”, mark them for “Syria Response” and send them to:
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund
The Anglican Church of Canada
80 Hayden Street
Toronto, Ontario  M4Y 3G2

 PWRDF Donations Contact:

Jennifer Brown
416-924-9192 ext. 355; 1-866-308-7973

 PWRDF Humanitarian Response Coordinator

Naba Gurung
416-924-9199 ext. 321; 1-866-308-7973

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