Rebecca Swarbrick, Grace United Church, Chelsea, QC
On a cold and damp Sunday afternoon, our family and others from Grace United Church set out on our prayer walk for refugees. None of us knew what to expect. The kids wanted to run and enjoy the trail, the rain wanted to let loose, we had to remember to stay socially distanced, yet we were given the time to stop and pray, to learn and remember.
There were times of laughter, chatter and silence, enjoying the fall colours, making new friends and getting to know acquaintances. Though it was difficult to walk through and consider the lives of refugees spread across the world, we did so together and were glad to focus on something beyond our four walls.
We took turns reading the points for prayer at each kilometre. A particular powerful moment was when Nancy, who leads the children’s work at church, found her voice breaking as she read the statistics for the amount of refugees per country in recent years. We stood in silence, staggered by the stark reality we were faced with. Even our children stopped rushing ahead and stood quietly to listen!
It was the first time many of us had seen each other since the lock down began in March. We were used to seeing each other’s faces at our Sunday services online, but to be together in person to walk for a purpose and raise money for such a life-giving organisation like IAFR, was so wonderful. The following week such gatherings were prohibited; the timing was perfect.
Did You Know?
This past August, 24-7 Prayer Canada invited churches and individuals across the country to a 10 KM Prayer Walk for Refuge, raising funds for IAFR Canada's ministry with refugees. Over $8000 was raised by more than 20 groups! We are so grateful to each one who walked and each one who is helping refugees by sponsoring them.
If you would like to pray for refugees while you practice social distancing this winter, here is the guide that was shared with participants, with a prayer point for each km you walk.
Our vision is to help people survive and recover from forced displacement. We do this together with the church, both globally, and locally in Canada.