Welcome to OurNewVillage.ca. This site will serve as a meeting place for the New Settlers* recently arrived in Canada from the ‘village’ of the Armenian community in Aleppo, Syria and the people involved in supporting them here in Canada. ‘The Village’, as it was known in Syria, referred to the community of Armenians who fled from the Armenian Genocide in 1915 and settled in Aleppo Syria. OurNewVillage is the community that we hope to establish as people from the Village of Unionville and the City of Markham work with the Armenian Evangelical Church in Markham to support these new Canadians.
The program is a joint effort of four churches – St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, Markham, The Olive Branch Community Church, Unionville Presbyterian Church and the Armenian Evangelical Church in Markham- to respond to the refugee crisis in late 2015. Representatives of the churches became aware that the community focused around Markham’s Armenian Evangelical Church had sponsored upwards of 25 families, and were struggling to provide the support needed for these families to get established.
While the churches continue to consider other ways of becoming involved in the continuing refugee crisis in Syria, OurNewVillage will focus community efforts to support the now 35 families of new settlers who have connections with this Markham-based program.
Watch this space for updates on activities and invitations to join us in sharing Christian hospitality with our new neighbours.
*We have chosen to use this term over the commonly used ‘refugees’, to focus on the positive future rather than the traumatic past. Legally the people being supported through our efforts are refugees who fled the war in Syria, and who came to Canada from refugee camps in the Middle East (mostly from Lebanon). Practically these families are new Canadians, settling into a new country and a new culture, who are looking forward to creating a home for themselves, and contributing to Canadian society.