The Role of Churches in Immigrant Settlement and Integration is a national research project conducted across Canada by the Centre for Community Based Research (CCBR) in five cities (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Moncton and Halifax) and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Its purpose is to develop a national research partnership that would investigate how to better equip church groups across Canada to help immigrants/refugees settle and integrate into Canadian society. The Toronto site of the Role of Churches project, through a partnership with the Tyndale Intercultural Ministries Centre (TIM Centre), investigated best practices in helping immigrants/refugees settle and integrate into Canada by conducting five focus groups and two case studies, specifically exploring the Vision, Structure and Processes of churches in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) who are explicitly involved with helping newcomers in Canada.
Four research questions were posed in the study:
- What short and mid-term changes in vision, structure and process would best enable church groups to be more effective in supporting immigrants to settle and integrate?
- How could the role of immigrant church leaders be maximized in order to advance these changes?
- What are the current research and knowledge capacities and gaps of church groups in addressing the needed changes?
- What promising practices, structures and partnerships currently exist?
The Finding Our Way resource is a practical, interdenominational Guide To Action for congregational leaders in Canada developed from the Role of Churches Research project. It features 11 key strategies (described as "Wayfinding Actions") that Church leaders can use in working with - and learning from - immigrants and refugees. This Guide to Action also encourages individuals and groups to balance the "doing" of settlement and integration ministry with the "being" of a cultivated spirit of love, friendship and welcome. The Finding Our Way resource builds on a series of interviews, case studies, and surveys with faith leaders from across Canada. Click here for more information about the project.