A lunch was served to all parishioners, new and old on Sunday, 16 September 2018. We thank Lisa and Charles Rushton for organizing the lunch, and the members of the coffee group for their help.
It has been a little over a year since the Al Jbawi family arrived in Canada. We are now in “Month 13” – a time of transition as our year-long sponsorship term officially ended in mid-June. Where are we now, and what happens next?
First of all, a huge thank you to everyone who has helped with this endeavour. It was a longer process than we first thought and teams and volunteers underwent transitions of their own, but what an amazing experience it has been and what a wonderful family we are now blessed to know. We hope to invite everyone to celebrate with the Al Jbawis later this summer with a potluck picnic – details t.b.d.
Learning English is crucial to a successful future in Canada. Both parents are on track to finish English Language Learning (ELL) Level 3, an important benchmark for employment, by this summer/fall, with plans to continue their ELL studies either full- or part-time as circumstances allow. The children made great progress at school this year. Ahmad is an exceptional high school student and ranks in the top of his class. This family has worked hard at their studies, with superb support from NeST’s ELL and Homework Team. Arabic interpretation is still required on occasion but the whole family is now able to converse in English and they are eager to hone this skill. At the family’s request their NeST friends will continue to offer homework and conversation ongoing, in a less intensive form. The Household Goods and Financial Mentoring Teams were among the first to work themselves out of a job (mostly). NeST is available to consult as needed but the family does their own shopping and manages their household finances including paying bills online with the computers provided by the Technology Team. The Health Team had a busy year (cautionary tales from other sponsoring groups about dental expenses proved accurate) but Al Jbawis have been connected with resources as needed and are now managing their own health care. The family uses Calgary Transit regularly and with the purchase of a second-hand vehicle in June are completely independent from a Transportation point of view. Socially, they very much enjoyed celebrating their birthdays and other special events with NeST over the past year and hope to continue those connections. They have established friendships in both Arabic- and English-speaking circles.
With respect to NeST finances, thanks to congregational and individual donor support and fundraising initiatives NeST finishes the official sponsorship term with a remaining ‘nest egg’ of about $8000. NeST would like to echo the family’s gratitude for this support and what it has meant to them in establishing their new life in Canada. Khalil started part-time work last fall in addition to full time ELL and has been transitioning to financial independence since then. The family has an ambitious but solid plan to balance breadwinning and education going forward.
NeST Team Leads met June 24 and decided to discontinue the regular monthly support payments to the family as of the end of June (for July 2018) but to keep the NeST account open for the next 6 months (or until funds are exhausted) to use as a transitional contingency fund if needed. This will include offering to help the family with ongoing dental treatments that their health plan is unlikely to cover. With strong agreement from Andre of the Diocesan Refugee Committee, NeST also decided to help the family pay off the remaining balance of the government “travel loan” they have been liable for since their arrival. There was a government policy change during the long processing delay before they were allowed to travel to Canada so although Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada initially said they would cover the airfare for Syrian refugees, by the time the Al Jbawis arrived they were presented with a bill for about $6600. We were not successful in appealing this charge so the family has been making instalments and the loan is about half-paid. Clearing that debt will help establish their Canadian credit rating and help them move forward financially. With this shift in focus to transition, please note that NeST is no longer requesting monetary donations for ministry with this family at this time.
Friendship will continue, however, and so will less formal social and language support. The family is eager to stay in touch. If you would like to be involved, contact a NeST-ian or your parish office.
NeST is now entering a time of discernment. This was a first venture into this kind of work for many of us and we learned so much. The NeST Admin Team would love to hear your thoughts, as
donors/volunteers or from the wider congregation. What worked well and what should we do
differently? Do we have the time, energy and resources to try another sponsorship? If not, what are other ways we can continue to answer Our Lord’s call to “welcome the stranger”? Your input will help us determine what to do with any NeST funds remaining in December (e.g. donate to the Diocesan Refugee Committee, use as seed money for a second NeST sponsorship, other?).
Thanks be to God for bringing this family safely to Canada to build a new life here, and for all those who have helped it happen. Pray for peace and for all those whose lives continue to be disrupted by violence and persecution.
Jennifer Solem (for NeST)
As part of the Royal Canadian College of Organists' Festival, there was an Evensong on Monday, 2 June, 5 pm. Music was by Stephen Paulus (1949-2014), William Byrd (1538-1623), and Flors Peeters (1903-1986). The organ music and choir were at their best.
The Al Ahli Arab Hospital (AAH) in Gaza City has sent an urgent call for help.
AAH is a humanitarian institution in the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. Its
mandate embraces a rights-based approach to treatment and provides health
care without discrimination on the basis of faith, gender, social class or political
affiliation. The immediate needs include medical supplies, medicines, fuel for
generators and support for those working non-stop to treat the wounded and
If you wish to support the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund’s
response to the Gaza Crisis, you may donate in the following ways:
Online: Go to http://pwrdf.org/donate. Under “Emergency Response” specify
By phone: call Jennifer Brown 416-924-9192 ext. 355; 1-866-308-7973.
Please do not send your credit card number by email or fax.
By cheque: payable to “PWRDF, Gaza Crisis Response” and send to: The
Anglican Church of Canada, 80 Hayden Street, Toronto, ON M4Y 3G2PWRDF Gaza Crisis Response
On Saturday, June 2, there was a special service of Choral Evensong at 4:30 pm for our Second Annual Former Chorister’s Reunion. We have been in touch with dozens of former choristers and invited them to join us (either in the choir or the congregation) and Terence Fullerton, Director of Music 1973-1996 was our guest conductor. The music featured Charles Wood’s Evening Service in E-flat (no. 2) and Felix Mendelssohn’s glorious anthem Hear My Prayer. The attendance was very good, and we continue to hope that this will be an annual event.
Greeters welcome worshippers to the Cathedral, distribute service sheets and help the Wardens in taking the collection. Greeters are scheduled to serve once every five weeks. This important ministry is a wonderful way to serve the Cathedral community and meet fellow parishioners. Please email Charles Rushton at email@example.com to volunteer.
A brief Special Meeting of Parishioners approved a new sign to be erected on the south lawn of the Cathedral.
Once again there is an opportunity for members of the congregation to provide funds for vocal soloists on selected Sundays in the summer. There is no budget for this, but if you would like to provide funds, the cost would be $60 per Sunday. As with flowers, the gift of music could be given in memory of a loved one, or in thanksgiving for blessings received. Please contact Dr. Cockburn in the music department at 403-269-1905, ext. 117 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Our tradition of Open Cathedral has begun again and will run through until September. Over the years, we have welcomed thousands of people into our Cathedral - guests from across Canada and around the world, and also our neighbours - people who have walked by the building, school groups, or those who simply needed a quiet place to sit, reflect, or pray. This important outreach ministry cannot exist without the support of volunteers. Whether you are able to volunteer once a month or once a week, or even just once over the course of the next months, we need your help. Volunteers work in pairs from 11:30am - 1:30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday. Training is provided, and volunteers do not need to be Cathedral members. For more information, please speak with Leighton, or contact Marva
(email@example.com) or Barry (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Our Director of Music played a solo organ recital of Bach masterworks at Knox United Church (506, 4 Street SW) on Friday, May 25. This recital was part of the Calgary Philharmonic’s Bach at Knox festival. It was a delight to see Knox full, and clearly the audience appreciated the performance!
NeST met with the Al Jbawi family on May 6 to discuss what will happen next in their settlement journey as we approach the end of our one-year sponsorship agreement. It was a very positive meeting with much to celebrate. Both parents are close to achieving a language benchmark that will qualify them for employment in Canada, and Khalil has begun applying for carpentry jobs. NeST will begin to transition financial support. The children are doing well in school, and the whole family has made astonishing progress in English language learning in the past 11 months. Classes for the adults will be ongoing but may move from full time to part time over the next few months to accommodate full time employment. Homework visits will be scaled back during Ramadan at the family's request, but may continue into the summer in the form of more general literacy activities pending the family's and volunteers' schedules. Or there may be more social visits! The family took an exciting step towards independence with the purchase of a 2004 Kia minivan from the proceeds of Khalil's part-time restaurant job. They continue to express their gratitude to everyone for the help received thus far. They indicated their hope (echoed by NeST volunteers) that the friendships formed will continue well into the future.
On April 8, the Bishop for Treaty 7, Sidney Black, preached at the Cathedral on the topic of overcoming our fears and creating community. We had hoped to hear the bishop before Easter, but owing to bad weather, we had to wait. Even so, the bishop and his wife overcame some considerable difficulties on the road to visit us, and we are grateful. It was good to hear words of welcome and blessing in Siksika, and a message of love and reconciliation.
Mount Royal Kantorei joined us on Tuesday, March 20 at 7:30pm for five movements from the incredible "The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace" by Karl Jenkins, along with a few selections from the Harmony of the Spheres concert. The concert was a success, and we look forward to working with the Kantorei in future.
After 50 years, Richard Johnson, left, has retired as Sacrist to the Cathedral. His successor is Dr. Vaughan Bowen, right. The Dean oversaw the ceremonial transition, and bestowed the title Sacrist Emeritus on Richard Johnson.
The Diocesan Choirs’ Festival was on Saturday, February 3. Choirs and singers from around the Diocese joined the Cathedral Choir in a service of Choral Evensong. Music included John Stainer’s Evening Canticles in B-flat and Charles Villiers Stanford’s anthem "How Beauteous Are the Feet."
We are looking for two Greeters. This is important ministry. Greeters welcome worshippers to the Cathedral, distribute service sheets, and help the Wardens in taking the collection. If you are interested, please email
Thanks to the generosity of the congregation, once again we have delivered numerous bags of new clothing to Inn From the Cold, The Woman's Shelter and Avenue 15.
The contributions were much appreciated by all three charities. Some of the young people at Avenue 15 did not have hats or mittens, so they were really grateful, especially with the cold temperatures we have been experiencing.
The Cathedral Outreach Committee and the local Primate’s World Relief and Development fund (PWRDF) sponsored a fall fundraiser: “All Mother and Children Count.” All monies collected go to maternal and child health in Rwanda, Tanzania, Mozambique and Burundi.
The final total was $2084 which will be multiplied by seven, or $14,588, in its value to PWRDF. Well done everyone.
Inspired by the PWRDF Project "all Mothers & Children Count," we have begun to knit or crochet small gifts to give to Mothers in the community who have few resources. The group meets each Thursday in the Parish Hall from 4 until 6 pm allowing those who wish to attend Vespers at 6:15. A $10 donation is suggested to sign up for this project, but it is not a requirement. If you are not sure about knitting and would like to learn, come along, and you will be helped. Please contact Lesley Pugh, email@example.com or 403 234 9948 to join the group.
The first 2018 meeting is 11 January at 4pm in the Parish Hall to count finish blankets and plan the next project.