Social Justice Institute

Welcoming Refugees and Migrants in our Community

Date: Saturday, May 4, 2019

Time: 10:00 am - 3:30 pm

Location: Newman Theological College

The Social Justice Institute (SJI) is an annual ecumenical adult education initiative that has continued in Edmonton for almost forty years. SJI is a unique partnership with reps from different Christian churches, educational institutions, service agencies and community partners

Each year different social justice issues are addressed. This year the program focus is on the issue of refugees and migrants coming to Canada, and role of faith communities in accompanying and supporting them in becoming full members and participants in our local communities.

This year the SJI program will start with a brief analysis of the root causes of forced migration to Canada today from different parts of the world. Also to realize what is happening today is part of a long history of Canada being challenged to welcome and provide a refuge for refugees, whose lives are being threatened in their home communities.

The SJI organizing committee made a program decision to have presenters tell their own stories rather than bring in a high profile expert speaker. In the morning, there will be a panel of presenters who will tell their stories of being forced to flee from their home countries and the challenges they are experiencing settling into Canadian society. Next, there will be presenters from community agency settlement and support agencies and a church congregation speak about how they accompany and support recent migrants as they become part of our Edmonton neighbourhoods and communities. The program will conclude by looking at practical ways faith congregations and individuals can get involved in welcoming and supporting recent migrants through refugee sponsorships and community outreach programs. The issue of advocacy actions to address root causes of forced migration will also be addressed. There will resource displays and a chance to talk with others about how best to get involved.


10:00 am - 10:30 am Issue Overview
10:30 am - 11:15 am Keynote Talk Winnie Yeung - Co-writer of Canada Best Seller "Homes: A Refugee Story"
11:15 am - 12:15 pm Lived Experience Panel
12:15 pm - 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm Accompanying Refugees and Migrants New to Canada
2:15 pm - 3:15 pm Opportunities to Get Involved
3:15 pm - 3:30 pm Closing Remarks
*Optional* 3:30 pm Solidarity Walk



  • MC for Day – Tim Hartnagel
  • Faith Reflection – Jonathan Nicolai-deKoning
  • History of Forced Migration to Canada – Jonathan Nicolai-deKoning, Micah Centre
  • Facts of Forced Migration in the World Today - Christine Baghdady, Development and Peace

Keynote Talk

  • Winnie Yeung - Co-writer of Canada Best Seller "Homes: A Refugee Story"

Telling the stories of the lived experience of forced migration (Panel 1)

  • Presentations by refugees from different parts of the world who have recently settled in Canada

Accompanying refugees and migrants new to Canada (Panel 2)

  • Eun Jin and Rispah Tremblay, Mennonite Centre for Newcomers
  • Phil O’Hara, Edmonton Multicultural Coalition
  • Keri-Lynn Gibbs, adult educator and refugee sponsor

Opportunities for congregations and individuals for getting involved (Panel 3)

  • Christine Baghdady and Karsen Mitchell, Development and Peace
  • Rev. Annabelle Wallace, retired pastor, Westmount Presbyterian Church
  • Govinda Timsina, Catholic Social Services

Organizing Committee

The organizing committee includes representatives from:

  • Anglican Church of Canada, Edmonton Diocese (Alan Perry)
  • Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (Monica Nino)
  • Edmonton Catholic Schools (Sandra Talarico)
  • Micah Centre, The King's University (Jonathan Nicolai-deKoning)
  • Mustard Seed Edmonton (Daniel Muthui) 
  • Newman Theological College (Jason West, Bob McKeon)
  • The Presbyterian Church in Canada (Ann Paterson)
  • Social Justice Institute (Ken Bracke)
  • St. Joseph’s College, Univ. of Alberta (Don McLeod, Tim Hartnagel)

Quick Links

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