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Sleep Out For Syrians event kicks off with warmth and good will

The pre-sleep party was hosted by Church of The Resurrection and DECA. -GARY W-P

The pre-sleep party was hosted by Church of The Resurrection and DECA. -GARY W-P

\ Saturday December 05, 2015

2100hrs \

Pre event dinner

Pre event dinner was sumptuous. -GARY W-P

Dozens of community members from the Woodbine-Danforth centered area of East York gathered at the Anglican Church of The Resurrection on Saturday December 05 to break bread, enjoy live entertainment, light candles of hope and share good will as a score of tents was set up on the building’s lawn to raise funds for bringing Syrian refugees to Canada.

Bishop Peter Yu socializes with community members at the pre-sleep party. -GARY W-P

Bishop Peter Yu socializes with community members at the pre-sleep party. -GARY W-P

The Sleep Out For Syrians event, sponsored by the local Danforth East Community Association, with support from the church at 1100 Woodbine Avenue (popularly known as “The Rez” by members) was endeavouring to raise $10,000 to help sponsor two families from the warn-torn Middle East country.

But the event has been so successful, attracting additional donations, that organizers now say they’ve already raised over $20,000 and hope to sponsor four families.

The pre-sleep community party started at 5:30 p.m. in the church basement and was followed by a service in the church’s sanctuary hall, attracting representatives of various local community groups, Peter Yu, the Anglican Bishop who oversees the local region, Beaches-East York MPP Arthur Potts and representatives of Toronto Police Services, among others.

A couple sets up their tent. GARY W-P

A couple sets up their tent. GARY W-P

The organizers had asked people who wanted to help to set up tents in the yard and hoped 40 tents could raise $250 each. By 6:30 p.m. 20 tents had been put up and organizer Sarah Brown said another ten were still expected to participate but hadn’t arrived yet.

Children in shorts play between the tents. -GARY W-P

Children in shorts play between the tents. -GARY W-P

As tents were being set up children frolicked in the yard between the tents, some clad in short pants and t-shirts as the weather remained relatively balmy at around 7 degrees C.

Inside the church the Roots-Pop group Caravan entertained, a sumptuous buffet-style repast was enjoyed and people chatted as if they were at a … well … church social!

Participants light pre-sleep candles of hope and show why they're taking part. -GARY W-P

Participants light pre-sleep candles of hope and show why they’re taking part. -GARY W-P

Upstairs in the church proper, people lit candles of hope and good will as music representative of the Syrian region was played on a sound system.  Many also filled out placards answering the question of why they were sleeping out or why they were prepared to welcome Syrian refugees to Canada.

Church pastor Duke Dipperman points out that Jesus was born a refugee. -GARY W-P

Church pastor Duke Dipperman points out that Jesus was born a refugee. -GARY W-P

Pastor Duke Dipperman spoke briefly and noted that it was “particularly appropriate for the church to be involved in helping the Syrian refugees at this time of year.

“After all, we have to remember, Jesus’s family were refugees. He was born a refugee,” Pastor Dipperman said.

-Gary Webb-Proctor

 

 

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