Information related to The United Church of Canada’s response to the Crisis in Syria is available on the church’s website:
The following letter is from Gary Paterson, Moderator of the United Church of Canada, sent to all United Churches:
September 6, 2013
Syria Refugee Emergency Appeal
Dear Colleagues in Ministry,
More than 2 million Syrians have fled the violence in their country. More than 4 million Syrians—mainly women, children and the elderly—are displaced within their own country. The refugee crisis in Syria and beyond is being called one of the worst ever. Almost 33% of Syria’s population is now in critical need of relief support. And the crisis is growing.
The United Church of Canada is launching an immediate, church-wide appeal for gifts to support Syrians uprooted by civil war. The United Church has already distributed $90,000 for humanitarian relief. Far more, however, is needed to deal with this crisis and so in the name of Jesus Christ we now turn to you.
We are asking all United Church people for their generous support of this emergency appeal. Working with the United Church partner ACT Alliance, your gifts will be used to provide refugees with:
o Counselling and support for the traumatized
o Clean water and sanitation
o Blankets and toiletries
You may give in the following ways:
On Line: www.united-church.ca/syria
We will process your gift immediately and you will receive your tax receipt right away.
By Mail: The United Church of Canada, 3250 Bloor St. W., Suite 300, Toronto, ON M8X 2Y4 Please note “Emergency Response – Syria Relief” on the face of your cheque or money order.
By Phone: 416-231-5931 or toll-free 1-800-268-3781 ext. 3050 and use your Visa or MasterCard.
Through Local Congregations: Please indicate your gift is for Syria Relief. Your congregation will forward all gifts to the church’s General Council office.
The United Church will not deduct any administration fee from your gift. Regular support of the Mission and Service Fund enables our church to provide staffing and cover administration costs of emergency response work.
A three-year civil war has left the Syrian economy in shambles. Inflation has left the poor in an extremely precarious position. Most attempting to escape the hostilities have had to leave their possessions behind. Host communities in Lebanon and Jordan cannot cope with the volume of refugees and tensions are building.
The situation is dire. The need for our financial gifts is urgent. Thank you for your generous support.
For more program information contact:
• Wendy Gichuru Program Coordinator, Africa and Middle East Partnerships Partners in Mission Unit Tel: 416-231-7680 ext. 4038 Toll-free: 1-800-268-3781 ext. 4038
How the United Church Responds to Emergencies
In responding to emergencies, the United Church gives priority to building the capacity of indigenous organizations to respond to local situations and enhance their emergency preparedness. We rely on expertise and reporting from global partner organizations to ensure the effective use of funds. Unlike large, specialized agencies whose primary work is emergency relief, the United Church maintains a limited capacity for emergency response, and does not usually deploy personnel to accompany or monitor a relief effort. The United Church is able to draw on or engage with several support mechanisms when responding to an emergency.
Emergency Response Fund
The United Church of Canada’s Emergency Response Fund (ERF) is used to help alleviate the effects of humanitarian crises caused by nature, humans, or a combination of both. Usually these responses are short- or intermediate-term in nature. However, the ERF is also used in support of longer-term rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts. Each year the ERF is replenished with funds from the unified Mission and Service Fund (currently $130,000/year). In addition, the ERF is replenished with a percentage of “supragift” monies received. (Supragifts are donations made by United Church members or others that are above and beyond the Mission and Service Fund. They cannot be counted as Mission and Service Fund credits but are eligible for tax receipts.) Eighty-five percent of supragifts received and intended for disaster relief are deposited in the fund and allocated as designated by the donor, while 15 percent of the same supragift donations are retained and used to maintain the ERF.
Action by Churches Together (ACT)
The United Church is a member of ACT, a global consortium of faith-based agencies and churches that has substantial capacity to respond to emergencies in all parts of the world. ACT works through its various regional and country members to respond to specific emergencies. It is able to draw on a standing Rapid Response Fund and relies on extra donations from its members for major disasters.
Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB)
The United Church is a member of the CFGB. Primarily a food aid organization, the CFGB is able to organize substantial food aid interventions in emergency situations in the global South. Each year United Church members contribute equity to the Foodgrains Bank in the form of cash and grain produced through local growing projects. The equity is used in support of specific emergency responses.
When major disasters occur, the United Church is sometimes able to issue a special fundraising appeal to its members, guided by an Emergency Response Protocol. Funds raised are usually shared directly with global partners or channeled through an ACT appeal.
Members of the United Church and the general public are encouraged to contribute to the work of ACT and the United Church’s partners by making a donation at http://www.united-church.ca
For Immediate Release — Monday, June 17, 2013
United Church Says National Inquiry Needed
Toronto: The United Church of Canada has added its voice to the call by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) for the Canadian government to convene as soon as possible a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. NWAC says that nearly 600 missing or murdered Aboriginal women and girls have been documented in Canada, and that number is increasing. In her letter to Prime Minister Harper, Nora Sanders, the church’s General Secretary of the General Council wrote, “Clearly our justice and social systems are not offering adequate protection against violence for Indigenous women in this country. We take very seriously the deadly violence to which these women and girls have been subjected, and believe that Indigenous women and girls deserve to be safe, as do all Canadians. This tragedy must be addressed as a step towards returning to healthy and thriving Aboriginal families, communities and nations in Canada.”
The church’s Call to Action is encouraging its membership to sign the NWAC petition for a national inquiry, and to write to their respective municipal, provincial, and federal representatives, with a copy to the Prime Minister. The United Church is also supporting the NWAC and AFN assertion that Aboriginal women must have a leading role in the design, decision-making, process, and implementation of this inquiry.
To find out more go to: http://www.united-church.ca/getinvolved/takeaction/130612