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Hosting a Refugee Family from Syria

Valentine's Day Syrian Dinner

After Dinner Entertainment

Tina watches the music and dancing

Mae & Kathryn

Doing their magic in the kitchen


While the band Sim Sim Salabim plays, our belly dancer invites the group to come up and dance. Ayman, Hussam and Nadya are the first.

Chef and Crew

Ayman directs, while the kitchen crew debates the amount of garlic.

The Two Davids

Setting up the dining room.

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Serious game of Uno ensues amongst the youth


Nadya doesn't see Ghassan cheating at cards


Bayan & Razan co-hosts


Hussam, David and Aymon


Hussam acts as if he did all the cooking


Peggy, Nadya and Linnea

They're here!


The Albetars have joined our community family, and taken on the many challenges of living and learning in Canada.

Refugee Sponsorship Update

Our family has arrived!

A group of 17 people anxiously anticipated the arrival of the Albetar family, as their flight landed on Thursday at 4 pm in Kelowna airport.  The “welcoming party” included members of the Refugee Sponsorship Group & families, our local arabic speaking liaison, Ayman Kanan, & his son Zachary and the Leader of the Kelowna mosque with wife & 2 kids.


The Albetar family (Hussam, Nadia, Bayan, Razan & Ghassan) arrived with shy smiles, looking a little bewildered, but happy, and a little tired.


David Sparks & Ayman transported the family, while the rest of the Summerland group handled the luggage and took it to their new home in Summerland, where Peggy Barnett had prepared a wonderful meal for the family.  


On Friday, David and Kathy met up with the family, took them to the Post Office to set up a PO Box so they can receive mail, introduced them to the Resource Centre for internet access, and then stopped off at the Beanery for a cup of coffee!


And there are more busy days ahead.


Saturday plans include setting up an account at the Credit Union (with assistance of Kathy McMillan & Larry Harder).

Monday will involve a trip to SOICS in Penticton to fill out paperwork (SIN #s, medical applications, etc) and arrange language training for the parents.  Norm (our Egyptian friend from Penticton) will be assisting as an interpreter.  On Tuesday, Patricia Collins will be navigating the family through the maze of school registration – first at the School Board Office in Penticton and then at the schools in Summerland.


Drivers Needed

We will need many volunteers for drivers for the family – for example, the parents will probably need trips to Penticton daily for language training.  If you can help with this, please contact Garry Hollingshead or Ali Unruh to let them know your availability so they can set up a schedule of drivers over the next few months.

























EXCITING NEWS! The Syrian family we are sponsoring is arriving today in Summerland - Thursday March 26.  They get to Summerland from Jordan via Frankfurt, Germany; Toronto; Vancouver; Kelowna.


Thanks to all who have given or promised household items for the home. Thanks also to those who have generously and wonderfully given money to help with their living expenses.

These are the names of the family members

Mohammed Hussam Albetar - Dad

Nadya Alsagher - Mom

Bayan Albetar - Daughter

Razan Albetar - Daughter

Ghassan Albetar - Son


Some Common Arabic Terms

Hello                           Marhaba

Welcome                     Ahlan wa sahlan

How are you               Keef halak or Keefak (slang) (male)

                                    Keef Halik or Keefik (slang) (female)

                                    Keef Halkom or Keefkom (slang)

(a group, family)

Good morning             Sabah il khair

Good evening              Masa il khair

Thank you                   Shokran

You are welcome        Afwan

Please                          Lao samaht



Past Notices

EXCITING NEWS! The Syrian family we are sponsoring will be arriving in Summerland on Thursday March 26. Our preparations now begin in earnest. Thanks to all who have given or promised household items for the home. Thanks also to those who have generously and wonderfully given money to help with their living expenses.

These are the names of the family members

Mohammed Hussam Albetar - Dad

Nadya Alsagher - Mom

Bayan Albetar - Daughter

Razan Albetar - Daughter

Ghassan Albetar - Son


Press Release

Summerland United Church is preparing to welcome a Syrian refugee family to Canada. The family of five is part of the 10,000 Syrian refugees the Government of Canada is taking in over the next three years.


David Sparks, co-chair of the Sponsorship Committee, says that “there are millions of people around the world displaced from their homes living in refugee camps, because of war and violence, political or social oppression. We will enable one refugee family to escape the danger, uncertainty and fear, and give them a safe home.”


The family coming to Summerland is from a region of Syria that has seen some of the most intense fighting in the Civil War. The family had to flee their home for their own safety as fighting between the rebels and government forces made daily life dangerous. The family fled to safety in Jordan. The Canadian Government has checked out the family and placed them on a list of people approved to be resettled to Canada.


Rev. Armand Houle, minister of Summerland United says that the United Church of Canada has a history of sponsoring and welcoming refugees to a new life in Canada. “Whether it was the Vietnamese Boat People, Bosnian Refugees, or people fleeing the violence and oppression in some Latin American countries, United Church congregations across Canada, have been in the forefront of sponsoring and welcoming newcomers to Canada."


The family, father, mother, two teenage daughters and an elementary age son will be arriving in Summerland on March 26. The congregation has found a most suitable house for them close to the town centre. An Arabic speaker has been found to assist with some translation; more are needed. The most pressing issues that the Sponsorship Committee is currently dealing with is to meet the costs of the first year that the family will be in our community.


“Summerland is such a great community, with a strong spirit of neighbour helping neighbour - whether locally or globally. We know that this family will find a warm and supportive welcome in our community as they start a new life in Canada,” says Rev. Houle.


We have still $8000 to raise to meet our target of $18,000 for living expenses for one year. Contact the church If you would like to find out how you can be involved in this humanitarian project. Make a tax deductible gift to help the family with start-up or living costs during this first year in Canada:


Email the Church

Summerland United Church

13204 Henry Road


V0H 1Z0

Wood Lake Publishing highlights the book: Oil and Water by Amir Hussain, as a resource for those wishing to understand the relationship between Christians and Muslims.


Amir Hussain is well-known to the United Church of Canada as a spokesperson and advocate and friend. He is a professor of Theological Studies at Loyola University, California. 



Oil & Water

Two Faiths; One God


by Amir Hussain

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