Expanded Summer Hours and Support for the Refugee Initiative

By Judy Langford and Aleksa Harkness

Summer Hours

To further implement their hope to be a proactive part of this community, the volunteers at the James Bay United Church Thrift Shop have decided to open on Saturdays during the warm summer months of May through September. This time frame was chosen to coincide with the opening of the James Bay Community Market. The notion of opening their doors to those neighbours who work on weekdays fits with the Thrift Shop’s objective of offering a variety of purposeful, affordable items to all members of the community. May 7 is the first Saturday opening hours of operation are 10am - 1pm. May 7 is a special sale because all the proceeds from the sale will be directed to the James Bay Community Refugee Initiative. It will be a good time to come and have a conversation while you browse. (See below.) The busy little Shop will still be open for its regular sales on Fridays, 10am-2pm.  

JB Refugee Initiative

The James Bay Refugee Initiative (JBRI), which was launched one Sunday in 2015 during a worship service at James Bay United Church, has grown to a community-wide organization whose supporters (living in Greater Victoria and beyond, including some in the US) are waiting for the arrival of the first refugee sponsored by the group. To many it feels like waiting for a birth…the anticipation…the slight trepidation… the preparation. As they wait, the group learns a little Arabic, furnishes the apartment that will be the newcomer’s home, and plans fundraising events that will allow for the sponsoring of a family of four as part of the Family Reunification Plan set as a special priority by the government of Canada.

There is someone in a refugee camp in the Middle East who will soon leave behind the “refugee” designation and become simply a “newcomer” to Canada. Members of the JBRI are waiting with eager anticipation to meet this person about whom they care deeply before they ever meet.

The James Bay United Church Thrift Shop has supported this initiative from the beginning, with some volunteers from the thrift shop also volunteering with the JBRI. In addition, there will be a special Saturday opening of the thrift shop on May 7 from which all profits will be donated to the JBRI. If you wish to make a donation you may do so on the secure JBRI website http://jamesbayrefugeeinitiative.org/ or by dropping a cheque made out to James Bay United Church at the church office at 511 Michigan (with “refugee sponsorship” in the memo line). If the church is closed there is a secure mailbox by the side door.

Mark your calendars for two concerts at James Bay United Church

in support of the Refugee Initiative:

May 15, 2pm - Bayside Big Band

June 26, 2pm - Maria Manna & Friends