Saskatoon welcomed 63 refugees to Canada last year

By Rev. Jan Bigland-Pritchard Refugee Co-ordinator, Anglican Diocese of Saskatoon - photograph courtesy of Jan Bigland-Pritchard

SASKATOON — The refugee co-ordinator for the Diocese of Saskatoon recently finished her first year in the position and was thankful to everyone in the diocese who helped welcome 63 refugee newcomers to the area.

The Rev. Jan Bigland-Pritchard penned a letter to the diocese saying parishes should contact her if they wanted to consider a refugee sponsorship this year:

For those of you not currently involved in a refugee sponsorship, I would like to invite you to partner, in 2019, with a settlement team of the diocese that is working to bring a family of new Christian believers who have fled from Iran.

It is a multi-church settlement team, with members from St. Stephen’s Anglican, Erindale Alliance, Avalon Alliance, 5:15 Church, Power to Change campus ministry, and other congregations.

We call them the “Zar” family, to protect their identity, and our settlement team is called “Friends of Nazanin.”

The Zar family is comprised of seven adults: a married couple who are retired from education, an auntie who is a nurse, a daughter who is an artist and fashion designer, one son who is a photographer, another who teaches English, and a third who works with computers.

The family members all had their interviews and were approved on the spot.

They also passed their medicals. This means they could be with us in a matter of months.

The costs of sponsoring seven adults for the 12-month period are high.

At of the end of November 2018, Friends of Nazanin had raised about $27,000; but with
a family of seven adults and the increase in the government-mandated minimum support levels, we needed to raise $20,000 more.

At the end of December, we had enough in the bank to cover their start-up costs and about five months of the needed 12 months’ financial support.

Would you or your parish consider making a financial gift to help this family?

All financial gifts can receive a tax receipt through the Anglican Diocese of Saskatoon Refugee Fund.

A big thank you to Anglicans from two rural parishes — Borden and Quill View — for their generous responses so far.

As the Zar family— with God’s blessing — will be with us in 2019, can I also ask you to pray for them?

So, how can you help?

Financial gifts are great, while so are pledges of financial support for when the family arrives.

If you like putting on fundraising concerts or events, take the lead to organize one for this family.

Furniture is needed and we have a place to store it until they come — thanks Liz McTaggart!

We will need new mattresses: one double and five singles. If you know anyone connected to a mattress store.

More people on the settlement team are needed to help with driving; getting to know the city; assisting with job-search and English practise; and simple friendship.

Three of the family are 55 years and older, while four are in their late 20s to early 40s. All need new friends.

We also have, from one of the Zar family’s daughters, packs of note cards each containing prints of five of the daughter’s art for sale: five cards for $10, and two original framed paintings for $80 and $100 for sale.

All proceeds to the Friends of Nazanin refugee sponsorship account.

Also, of course, if you wish more information on sponsorship and how you can be involved, or to donate or to find out the status of our efforts, please contact Rev. Jan Bigland-Pritchard at