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FALL 2020
 Supporting Newcomers During COVID-19
  The Centennial PC Mission Committee welcoming the family at the Calgary airport.
tially told the whole process would take about six years, we welcomed our first refugee family to Canada within less than two years. What seemed impossible two years earlier was now a reality.
The family arrived in November 2019. It was a great moment for our congregation and for the newcomer to be reunited with his brother and friends after almost 20 years.
Their sponsorship experience was not that different from my own when my family first arrived in Canada. Be- cause we had lived through the same situation only a few years earlier, we were able to help the family with no problem at all.
But suddenly the threat of COV- ID-19 arose from nowhere. This was a problem we had not expected; rath- er, we had thought an employment delay or something similar might occur. We were bewildered when we heard about social distancing for the first time. It has affected everything. It limited visitation, interactions and social networking with the new fam- ily.
Despite all of these challenges, the Centennial PC mission team and the entire Anyuak community in Calgary have been able to help the family set- tle into their new environment very
The family sponsored by Centennial PC in Calgary, Alta., on the day they arrived in Canada.
By Okelo Aballa, Centennial Presbyterian Church, Calgary, Alta.
We are so grateful to have received a newcomer and his family at the end of 2019. They were among the thou- sands of Anyuak people suffering in a refugee camp in Kenya for many years.
In 2017, our congregation, Cen- tennial Presbyterian Church in Cal- gary, Alta., and Anyuak Ministry decided to sponsor a family from a
Kenyan refugee camp. It was our first experience with sponsorship, and we did not know much about the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program. So we reached out to a Presbyterian congregation that had been involved with multiple sponsorships, as well as to the PWS&D Refugee Sponsor- ship Coordinator at the time, Rob Shropshire, for guidance.
With help from Rob and much prayer, we embarked on our spon- sorship journey. While we were ini-
well. We have managed to follow up with appointments over the phone. We have designated two people to go grocery shopping a few times a week and to take the family to their in-person appointments.
We communicate on a regular ba- sis by phone and online, and we are also running church activities online to build connections with the family. It has been a new way of life for all of us that we must adapt to. Now we have learned a lot about how to help a newcomer in this kind of situation
and we cannot wait to see our next family coming.
Our sincere thanks go to PWS&D for their tireless work and guidance throughout the whole sponsorship; we could not have done it without you.
Centennial Presbyterian Church first began working with PWS&D in 2018 to submit the application for the fam- ily mentioned in this article, they also submitted a sponsorship application in 2019, and will be submitting an- other in 2020.
 Missing Stampede but Not Missing Out
  The Rev. Jake Van Pernis, Associate Minister, Engagement & Service.
As a missional church, Grace Presbyterian Church in Calgary, Alta., has been working to embrace the Beltline, an inner city area of Calgary where the church is located. The community includes younger pro- fessionals between the ages of 25 and 35, those who identify as hav- ing no religion, those who belong to other religions, and those who have immigrated to Canada. A neighbour- ing school that Grace supports has students who speak more than 45 first languages. Few members of the congregation live here and Grace is working to serve this diverse com- munity. In 2019, Grace hosted a community Stampede Breakfast and more than 800 from the Beltline at- tended, many meeting Grace mem- bers for the first time.
This year, Grace wanted to show up for the community during a diffi- cult time. The Engagement & Service Committee decided to create a video to help people celebrate Stampede culture, and support kids and fami-
lies in the Beltline facing summer hunger. The Virtual Stampede Party video included a buttermilk pancake cooking lesson, a “Slap Leather” Western Line Dancing segment, a pancake flip compilation segment and challenge (#gracepancakeflip), as well as a call to action to donate to I Can for Kids—a local non-profit that Grace partnered with to distrib- ute grocery gift cards to families in immediate need of food, including more than 30 families from the local Beltline school that Grace supports. The video included 35 people (from seven years old to 96) and seven outside organizations, including those from the I Can for Kids circle such as Calgary police, firefighters and Save-On-Foods that matched online donations. Two horses and one dog also appeared!
The video was viewed close to 300 times and was included in five media stories about Stampede spirit, community building and adaptation during COVID-19 (three national, in-
Distributing grocery gift cards and fresh produce to Calgary Beltline neighbourhood families.
cluding the Globe and Mail, and two local in Calgary). Close to $2,000 was raised for I Can for Kids.
Grace members, those who took part, and many walking by the church have expressed joy and grati- tude for a fun summer community oppor tunity!
By Amy Dunn Moscoso, Communications Coordinator, Grace Presbyterian Church in Calgary, Alta.
This summer, the Calgary Stampede was cancelled for the first time in
more than 100 years due to COV- ID-19. This event usually leads to 10 days of delightful Calgary community spirit that includes multiple free daily Stampede breakfasts and community activities all across the city.

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