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Refugees

Learn more on the Office of Social Justice or Centre for Public Dialogue website.

Justice… On Every Occasion

February 22 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in Canada. (In the United States, January 11 is dedicated to addressing human trafficking.)

After much advocacy for its existence, members of Parliament unanimously agreed on the motion to adopt the day just last year, making this year the second annual awareness day. Awareness days provide an amplified platform and opportunity to highlight issues of great importance and concern. 

Dena Nicolai: The Gift of Talking With an Elected Official

Dena Nicolai, chaplain and refugee support mobilizer with the Christian Reformed Churches of British Columbia, shares the simple starting place for much of her engagement with people who have been refugees: joining them for a cup of coffee and saying “tell me how you’re doing.” Dena and Chris also talk about the ministry of sharing in lament, the importance of advocating ‘with’ and rather than ‘for’, and how the advocacy of faith communities and sponsors alongside newcomers changed government policy to provide a more “full” welcome for refugees in Canada.

3 Conversation-Starters about Immigration Sparked by “Encanto”

Attention: some *minor* spoilers ahead!

The new Disney movie “Encanto” follows the story of a Colombian family who was forced to migrate after their village was burned. And if you’ve seen it, you’ve probably had the song “We Don't Talk about Bruno” stuck in your head at some point. In the movie, the Madrigal family doesn’t like to talk about their brother/uncle Bruno because (it seems like) he makes scary things happen…

When the shepherds are back with their flocks

I don’t know about you, but I confess to having a love/loathe relationship with social media. Having said that, I am grateful that social media reintroduced me to The Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman’s writings several years ago, specifically his poem “The Work of Christmas.” Now, every year, I can count on at least one or more friends on social media reposting this poem around Christmas time:

“The Work of Christmas”

Justice Prayer - New Years 2021

Lord, thank you for 2021.  I put my 2022 in your hands.  

As we exit 2021 we intentionally pray with gratitude for good news from this year.    

Justice Prayers - December 15, 2021

"The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come."  - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Justice Prayers - December 8, 2021

 "Into this world, this demented inn in which there is absolutely no room for him at all, Christ comes uninvited." - Thomas Merton

Justice Prayers - November 17, 2021

He has planted me and made me his own.  Fed by the gentle waters of his spirit, I beg him by faith to prune me as he will, to let me grow tall and broad, lit by the sun to bear his everlasting fruit unto the unending day of the new creation.  - Andrew Peterson 

Justice Prayers - November 3, 2021

Love is what carries you, for it is always there, even in the dark, or most in the dark, but shining out at times like gold stitches in a piece of embroidery. - Hannah Coulter

The Power of Welcome

People are often surprised when I say that I’ve been blessed by refugees my entire life, but it’s true. 

Sometimes it’s because I grew up in small-town Iowa, and they assume that Iowa is as white and unicultural as a state could be. 

Sometimes it’s because they, too, grew up in small-town Iowa and didn’t have a similar experience. 

Sometimes it’s because they grew up in other states or countries and can’t recall any personal experiences with refugees that they see as blessings in their own lives. 

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