There was no opposition to sponsoring a Syrian refugee family at a Charlie Lake Community Church meeting Tuesday, lead pastor Alfred Reschke says.
The decision is still out, however, on whether or not the church will start the process of bringing a family to the community.
“We asked people to give us some written indications in terms of what they are willing to commit, both time-wise and finance-wise, to see if there is enough support here for it to go ahead,” Reschke told the Alaska Highway News. “I don’t have the answer to that yet, as I haven’t looked over those papers.”
About 30 people turned up for the evening meeting. Many were members of the church, but some were not.
“There were even some people from outside the community that came that really have a heart for wanting to see what we can do to help in this incredibly tough situation, and were part of the discussion as well. So that was exciting to see,” Reschke said.
The group’s two-and-a-half hour meeting covered topics that ranged from available cultural services in the community, to what size of family it would sponsor, and what ages would fit best with the community’s demographic.
“The average age of our community is what, early 30’s, so it would be neat if the demographics of the family could match roughly what our community is,” Reschke said.
In terms of social supports, the members had done some research and determined that there are “definitely some good mental health services here that could help.
“There’s a very good chance that any Syrians that come over will have some trauma, because of what they’ve just lived through,” Reschke said.
Additionally, the group has been in touch with Arabic speakers in the community, some of whom have agreed to help a refugee family adjust to life in Fort St. John.
The church’s next step is to determine whether the people who have expressed an interest in helping can do enough in terms of committing their time and finances to do a good job of helping the family settle.