Drivers Needed for Church of the Incarnation Refugee Project!

While we await the arrival of our Newcomer family, we can assist others who have already received theirs. The Church of the Incarnation is working with Grace Lutheran and St. Aidan’s in sponsoring a Syrian refugee family. The family of four arrived in Canada June 6th. They are settling in very well and recently celebrated the birth of twin girls in July. Their new life here in Oakville is busy with 2 other children ages 2 and 3 who are now in full daycare. Mom speaks English at level 4 and is being privately tutored by a teacher from Incarnation two days per week.  Samer,  the father, was an electrician in Syria and is taking enhanced ESL (English as a second language) courses in Burlington five days per week to improve his English so that he can get recertified—he is eager to get back to work.
Here is where we can best help!  While waiting to hear about the family that we will sponsor, Incarnation is looking for drivers who can drive Samer (and his neighbour Anwar, also a tradesman and occasionally a third newcomer) to the Halton Multicultural Centre in Burlington (860 Harrington Court—south of the QEW and west of Walker’s Line). Lessons begin at 9:00 am (pick up at 8:20 am) and finish at 3 pm (noon on Fridays) and they would appreciate any help we can offer with this driving (no need to worry about car seats!)  


Lynne Jenkins at Incarnation is organising drivers and sets up a 2 week schedule in advance. She says (from personal experience) the men are polite, respectful and eager to practise their English to and from their lessons. Hopefully we can rally support and be ready to help the first week of October. If you are interested and able to help, please call or email as soon as possible. A police records check is necessary. If you already have one on file at either church office, or if you are in the process of getting one done, let me know. There is a possibility of remuneration for mileage through the Halton Multicultural Center if you wish to become a regular driver. The family lives in the Kerr St. area on Queen Mary Drive.  
If you can assist, please contact Janine Maxwell, Driver coordinator St. Simon’s/St. Jude’s Refugee to Newcomer Project 905-334-4338


If you wish to help, or plan to assist with our Refugee to Newcomer Project, you can get your Police Records check at Full information about our Refugee to Newcomer project is at our Blog:
A link to the Halton Police online record check application can also be found there.

CBC Cross Country Check Up- Syrian Refugees- Sunday, Sept 25th 4-6 pm

This Sunday, CBC’s “Cross Country Checkup” is focused on how Syrian Refugees are adapting to their new life in Canada. The call-in show, “Becoming Canadian” will be live from the Mississauga Living Arts Centre. The focus will be the question “Are we giving our newcomers enough support to build a new life?” More information is available at the link above if you wish to attend in person. The show will be live on CBC Radio 1, (99.1 Toronto) and across the Radio 1 network, as well as online or later via Podcast.

Although this show will focus on Syrian Refugees in particular, our Refuge family may come from any area of the world in need. The conversations on this show should be helpful as we plan to receive our Newcomers. Listen in!

The podcast will be posted here after the conclusion of the live show.

Police Record Checks – How and Why

In order to volunteer to assist our sponsored family once they arrive, all volunteers for the Refugee to Newcomer Project must have, by law, a current Police Vulnerable Sector Check (PVSC) completed and submitted to Lara Drever at Please email Lara a scanned copy of your Police Records Check once you receive it. Lara will be keeping track and ensuring that all our volunteers have the appropriate PVSC in place.

Contact your local Police Department in order to get your PVSC done as soon as possible. The process can take up to 8 weeks.  You’ll need to provide 2 pieces of ID (only one requires a photo).

Residents of Halton may now apply for their PVSC online by visiting or by visiting Halton Police Services on Bronte Road, north of the QEW (1151 Bronte Road, Oakville, Ontario L6M 3L1).

There is a $25 fee for processing the PVSC in Halton and an additional $9.95 fee for online applications.

Residents of Peel (Mississauga and Brampton) can find information at the Peel Region Police website.

UPDATE- I completed the online PVSC application at and the process took about 20 minutes to register, fill in my personal info, authenticate and pay. Payment is by Visa or Interac and the total, with tax, is $36.24. This saves a trip to the Police Station and can be done in the privacy of your own home. The processing time for Volunteers is about 30 days. You can track the progress of your online application by logging back into the site.

September Update

Summer may be winding down, but the Refugee to Newcomer Project is still going strong.  St. Simon’s and St. Jude’s are continuing our work together, so we can be ready when our refugee family arrives.  There is plenty to do while we wait:

PPolice records check:  Get yours done now.  It’s essential for anyone who wants to volunteer.

RRoster of volunteer drivers:  If you can help drive the family around town, contact Janine Maxwell.

AAccommodations are needed (temporary for now).  Contact Noreen Duross if you can help.

YYour gifts:  Donations to the project are welcome and needed.  You can contribute by cash, cheque or online.

And of course, keep praying for the refugee family whom we don’t know yet, but whom we’ll have the privilege of supporting in their new life in Canada.

You can find Janine’s and Noreen’s contact information in the Refugee to Newcomer blog at or  It’s easy to get regular updates on the project with the blog.  Just subscribe by clicking “Follow” on the main page.

Update- Expect the Unexpected

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me, hungry and you fed me, frightened and you comforted and kept me safe”

Going into the Fall the St. Simon/St. Jude teams remain in a state of readiness despite not having a designated family, or arrival date. Recalling the experience of Knox Presbyterian we need to maintain our level of preparedness. That said, we are not accepting any more clothing until we know the sizes of the family members. IF you have furniture to donate we appreciate you storing it.


Our goal is to position our family for success thus we have identified additional things we need to raise money to cover. The Canadian government is no longer covering the travel cost of refugees; now a loan, that must be repaid.  We believe these are costs that we need to cover.

A recent article in MacLean’s identifies long wait times for English classes delaying the ability of “Newcomers” to orientate themselves, find work and fully embrace life in Canada.   We believe that IF English classes are not available in a timely fashion we should fund such classes.   Clearly a wise and empowering investment in our family’s settlement; positioning them for success.

What is needed to advance St. Jude’s /St. Simon’s ability to be ready to “expect the unexpected” and “position our family for success?”

Donations and/or pledges in advance of the arrival of our family. You can help;  each dollar matters.

  • Write a cheque now marked “Refugee to Newcomer”
  • Make a pledge of a few dollars a week, in addition to our existing pledge to St. Jude’s.
  • Remember that you can transfer some stock to St. Jude’s for this purpose too.   You’ll get a full tax receipt for 2016 and save the full Capital Gain.
  • Remember too that the money given in 2015 to the Bishop’s drive for funds for refugees went to the Diocese not St. Jude’s.
  • We acknowledge that it would be easier to motivate ourselves to make a financial commitment when the family is known to us, when their arrival date has been established.

However, to be prepared in a way that truly positions our family for success we need to have money in the bank in the next few weeks.

As in all stewardship decision please pray about how you can help this ‘yet to be identified’ family by reflecting on your own material blessings.

Your designated gift to the St. Simon/St. Jude’s “Refugee to Newcomer” project will change both the family’s lives and your own.

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me, hungry and you fed me, frightened and you comforted and kept me safe”


Fundraising Update!

Fundraising Update!

Last week’s two events were well attended and were very successful! Thanks to all who supported these two fundraising kickoff events. The Sidebar Concert at St. Simon’s raised $2,675 and the St Jude’s Bake Sale made $1,300 for a total of over $4,000! – this is more than 10% of our goal of $35,000! Thanks to all who attended the excellent concert at St. Simon’s and thanks also to bakers, “phoners,” buyers and sellers at the St. Jude’s bake sale!