Advent calendar – November 30

nest 30th anniversary

Ivor Schledewitz (left), past Chair of NEST, greets Ismaeil Mayel (right) and Fauzia Mayel (centre) at NEST’s 30th anniversary celebration. Photo: CLWR/E.Paulley

Celebrating 30 years of refugee sponsorship

Thirty years ago, three congregations in Winnipeg’s North End worked together to sponsor an Eritrean mother and daughter. Since then, the North End Sponsorship Team (NEST) has welcomed 181 people from 18 countries to Winnipeg and has 30 more refugees waiting for approval to enter Canada.

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More support needed for refugees in Uganda

Six weeks after an outbreak of violence in South Sudan forced tens of thousands to flee, the situation of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda is still critical. More than 70,000 have fled to Adjumani, Northern Uganda, where The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Dan Church Aid (DCA) is responding to the ongoing influx from the neighbouring country. Most recently, a cholera outbreak has threatened especially children in a newly installed settlement.

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Perfect timing in Uganda


Clean water, good hygiene and sanitation are keys to stopping the spread of cholera. Photo: LWF/Thomas Ekelund

When The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) and Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) announced on August 12 that it was sending $30,000 to support relief efforts for South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, we had no idea how timely the grant would be. On August 16, PWRDF and Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) received an email from Jesse Kamstra, the Lutheran World Federation’s country representative for Uganda and Burundi, thanking us for the relief funds we had sent.

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Responding to the South Sudan refugee crisis


Some 30,000 refugees fled South Sudan after a short but lethal outbreak of conflict, mainly in the capital, Juba, in July 2016. Thousands are crammed into this reception centre at Elegu, in northern Uganda. Photo: Samuel Okiror/IRIN

A message from Robert Granke, CLWR’s Executive Director

On July 8, 2016 fighting erupted in Juba, South Sudan, between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the SPLA-In Opposition. Over the course of four days, hundreds of people were killed, and tens of thousands were displaced. Approximately 40,000 people initially fled to churches, schools, and UN and NGO bases seeking protection. In the absence of food and other services, some of the displaced returned home while others moved towards the Ugandan border. Between July 7 and July 25, an estimated 37,491 South Sudanese refugees crossed into Uganda where CLWR partner’s Lutheran World Federation-Uganda (LWF-Uganda) has mobilized rapid crisis support at refugee reception centres.

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Opening ourselves to what God is doing next

If you are a pastor or congregational leader and have been concerned that if your congregation became involved in receiving a refugee family that all the work would fall on you, then I invite you to read this ecellent article from Pastor Carol Janke of Messiah Lutheran Church.

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Five for Rio

Great story from LWF-Kenya provided by Lennart Hernander
Program Representative
LWF World Service Kenya – Djibouti Program

Often referred to as “The Five from Kakuma,” they are 5 of the total 10 athletes who will be representing Refugees at the 2016 Rio Olympics. It is still surreal to them how much attention they are getting. It all started when the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation with support from the International Olympics Committee and UNHCR started an initiative to get refugee athletes from all over the world to participate in the Olympic Games to promote peace.

Their Journey to Rio started in October, 2015 when they were among a group of 36 refugees selected from both Kakuma and Dadaab Refugee Camps in Kenya. After a second selection process, 28 refugees were moved to the Anita Youth Center, in Ngong near Nairobi where they have been staying as they train and prepare for the Olympics.

“We didn’t know much about Rio, but we were happy to be selected to come and train to represent the youths in the Camps,” Anjeline, one of the 5 says.

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After a few months of training some of the selected athletes dropped out for various reasons. The training however continued for 22 athletes. In April 2016, another selection was done in Kakuma and Dadaab Camps and 14 more athletes were added to the group, now totaling 36. It is from this group of 36 that 5 were picked to go to the Rio games.

We started from scratch, all of them were new to running as a sport but they have adjusted fast and we are proud of how far they have come, “John Anzhar, one of their coaches, explains.

Rio has many Champions, we don’t have much experience like them but we will do our best to win, “James another of the 5 says when asked about his chances.

It takes more than 2 years of training for athletes to be confident to participate in the Olympics and we have had less time than that, so we won’t be disappointed if they don’t win,” John says, “But we will have accomplished our mission which is to show to the world that Refugees are people like us and we can promote peace by uniting through sports.

The Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation hopes to keep this initiative around for more years to come, hoping to involve more youths from the refugee camps after the Olympics, and to continue to work with the 5 for coming events.

The 5 athletes show that refugees have capacities and talents in many areas, and given the opportunity they can excel. On World Refugee Day 2016, we celebrate their ability and wish them success in Rio a few months from now!


LWF support sports development in Kakuma Refugee Camp, promoting both boys and girls in a variety of sports. Sport provides opportunities for people to develop various skills, relaxation, physical training and also provides psychosocial wellbeing. Sports activities is one way for people to engage in positive activities within and outside of school or work, and can be used as a tool for child and youth protection by having supervised and organized activities for children and youth in safe environments.

Tom Brook Community Relations Director – CLWR


Iraq crisis: donate to support families displaced by violence


We’re thankful that many Canadian Lutherans have worked with us to respond to the urgent needs of families displaced by violence in Iraq. We hope that you will continue partner with us in the effort!


We’ve started a new, one-year project to make clean water more available to displaced people and host community members alike.

This support is crucial. Many communities are struggling to support the people who’ve moved into their areas because of the violence. In particular, water resources that weren’t meeting residents’ needs to begin with have become even more overworked. The upgrades we’ll make to public water systems will make a difference. For example, homes will have better access to the main water lines.

The project will also provide mental health services to people affected by violence.

“The trauma of violence and displacement puts terrible stress on families, and the communities who host them struggle to meet everyone’s needs,” says Robert Granke, CLWR’s executive director. “We will support workshops that will promote healthy ways to cope with trauma, addressing the conflict within families and communities that can happen when large numbers of people are forced from their homes.”

We are grateful for up to $1.3 million in support from the Canadian government for this work, but we still need your support. We’ve committed to raising another $100,000 to reach as many vulnerable people as possible.

Please choose to support the health needs of displaced families today.



Donations to support emergency relief in the Iraq crisis may be made in the following ways:

  1. Online at or by clicking here.
  1. By making a designated offering donation through any Lutheran congregation.
  1. By calling CLWR at 1.800.661.2597 (locally at 204.694.5602) to donate by credit card.
  1. By sending a cheque made payable to CLWR and mailed to CLWR, 600-177 Lombard Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3B 0W5. Please indicate that you wish to contribute to the “Iraq emergency.”