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Inspired by God's love for humanity, Canadian Lutheran World Relief challenges the causes and responds to the consequences of human suffering and poverty.


Refugee Sponsorship for Congregations


As Christians we act in love and compassion, reflecting God’s love for us. God’s word directs us in ways of hospitality and shows us the source of strength and wisdom for every service we do in God’s name.

In 1946, Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) was created to help people displaced by the Second World War. Our commitment to refugees continues to this day through refugee sponsorship.Your congregation can be part of this legacy.

Refugee sponsors act to “welcome the stranger.” In return, they have the privilege of developing new friendships and learning about a different way of life.

“Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” - Rom. 12:13 NIV





Refugees are people:

  • who have been forced to leave their homelands and can’t voluntarily return
  • who have been persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinion

Our government helps a set number of refugees come to Canada each year. Canadians increase this number by privately sponsoring refugees through Sponsorship Agreement Holders like CLWR.



Sponsorship is a one-year commitment to support refugees as they adjust to life in Canada. You will provide or help them access:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Health care
  • Education for children
  • Job and language training
  • Employment

Your congregation will provide friendship, teach about life in Canada, & learn about the newcomers' culture, values and religious beliefs.

For more detailed information, please click here or download and print this 3-page guide (PDF).

For information on the rigorous eligibility, admissibility and security screenings refugees undergo before being accepted to come to Canada, please click here:


To donate furniture and other household items for arriving refugees, please click here to find out who is accepting donations in your city.




In Full sponsorships, committees cover basic living expenses for one year. For one refugee the financial commitment is about $9,000 ($21,000 for a family of four), though in-kind donations will lower that figure.

In Joint-Assistance & Family-Linked sponsorships, the government or a family member living in Canada covers any costs.

In a new initiative called the Blended Visa Office-Referred Initiative (Blended VOR Initiative), refugees will be jointly sponsored by the government and by a congregation/group. The Canadian government pays 6 months of settlement costs to the refugees and the next 6 months settlement money will be given to the refugees if a congregation or group sponsor a person listed under the Blended VOR refugee profiles. Click here to read more about the Blended VOR Initiative and view refugee profile. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has created a helpful video that describes this important sponsorship opportunity. Click here to watch it.

For more detailed information on the different kinds of sponsorship and sponsor responsibilities, please click here or print this 3-page guide (PDF)




  1. Contact CLWR. We' ll help your congregation set up a sponsorship committee and review refugee profiles.
  2. Work with CLWR to complete paperwork and communicate with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
  3. Begin fundraising and make a settlement plan, designating tasks among committee members.

CLWR will draw on decades of experience to provide logistical support to your committee throughout the application and sponsorship process.





Western Regional Office
Fikre Tsehai
80 East 10th Ave. New Westminster, BC V3L 4R5
Phone: 604.540.9760 or 1.888.588.6686
Fax: 604.540.9795

Eastern Regional Office

Jennifer Ardon

101-470 Weber Street N. Waterloo, ON N2L 6J2

Phone: 519.725.8777 or 1.888.255.0150

Fax: 519.725.8776






Free training course available

The Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP) offers free electronic distance education courses during the fall and winter. Enrollment in these courses is limited and you must pre-register.

Other resources

Read about Blended VOR Initiative sponsorships and view refugee profiles.

Download Refugee Handbook (for congregations wishing to sponsor refugees)

Download CLWR’s Partnership Spring 2011: In mission for refugees for a more comprehensive look at CLWR and refugee sponsorship. The Partnership for Spring 2014 also talks about CLWR's role helping refugees.

Refugee Sunday worship resource

Refugee Sponsorship bulletin inserts (Eastern Regional Office)

Read CLWR’s history in refugee sponsorship


Refugee voices:

Read some stories of refugees who've been sponsored by CLWR

- Sohail Gill, Pakistan

- Ismail Elhaji, Sudan


Gifts from the Heart

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