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Dear People of the Diocese of New Westminster,

In our Gospel reading for this last Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Advent, we hear Mary's declaration that God "has lifted up the lowly" and "has filled the hungry with good things."

In that spirit, I am excited to announce the creation of The Bishop's Fund for Refugee Resettlement. I am initiating this fund in response to the outpouring of interest in our diocese in assisting refugees (there are 14 projects currently underway) and from my own conviction that becoming more involved in this important effort in Canada is a powerful expression of who we are as Anglican Christians.

The purpose of this fund is to cover a range of expenses above and beyond the monies raised by parishes or other groups to satisfy the requirements of their sponsorship applications. Examples of the kinds of expenses the Bishop's Fund for Refugee Resettlement could cover include: the repayment of travel loans, extraordinary medical expenses, "month 13" expenses (expenses during the time of transition from sponsor support to self-sufficiency), and any other unforeseen gaps between a refugee family's projected expenses and what it actually costs to live in this part of Canada.

As of today, I have already received an advance anonymous gift of $10,000 to start the fund. This is added to the over $5000 we raised for this same purpose at the Order of the Diocese of New Westminster Investiture in early November.

I would ask that you share the news about this fund by forwarding this information to friends, relatives, co-workers and social network contacts. I also encourage all the parishes of the diocese to link to the article on the diocesan website that contains this information from your parish websites and social media accounts. Let's see if we can encourage many, many people to contribute.


Those wishing to contribute by credit card will find a "Give" button located at the top of each page (the header) of the diocesan website. For your convenience here is a DIRECT LINK TO THE GIVING PAGE. You can also text DONW to 7797, and this same contribution link will be texted to you. Please click on the dropdown box beside the words "Giving Type".

Those wishing to make a contribution by cheque, may make out the cheque to The Diocese of New Westminster, noting that it is for the Bishop's Fund for Refugee Resettlement and mail it to: 1410 Nanton Avenue, Vancouver BC V6H 2E2.

Gifts received by December 31, 2015 are eligible for a matching donation from the Government of Canada to its Syria Emergency Relief Fund. All donations, received this year or in the future also qualify for a tax receipt for income tax purposes.

I invite all of you to make a donation to this new fund, and I especially invite parishes or groups that are not currently directly involved in sponsoring a refugee family to contribute to this fund. It's a way we can all make a difference together.

Blessings to you during these last few days of Advent, and thanks be to God who lifts up the lowly and fills the hungry with good things!