assisting immigrants through the struggles of a new life in Canada is what the New
Canadian Friendship Centre
( www.ncfcentre.com) in Northeast Calgary is all about. The centre, run by Centre Street Church,
helps new immigrants learn English, seek employment, and fill out
forms that can be very complicated to a new arrival in Canada.
The centre also provides gently
used clothing to families, and a
safe place for children to play and
teenagers to hang out.
Director Ashwin Ramani immigrated to Canada from India in
2009. He relates to what the approximately 60 people who come
to the centre each day are going
through. “People come to Canada
with high expectations and they
are often let down, especially
in the first year,” says Ramani.
“They need someone to talk to,
to express those feelings. It gives me great
satisfaction to sit with someone and lis-
ten to their heart, to offer them hope that
things will get better, to encourage them
through their struggles.”
KingdomMatters n GOOD NEWS
Calgary Church Opens
Centre for new Immigrants
Inspires new Songs
Canadian singer/songwriter Jeremy Zeyl faced two new challenges with is latest project. First: Write a series of songs for corporate worship – something he hadn’t done before. second: Base
the songs on the Heidelberg Catechism.
Zeyl met those challenges in Heidelberg:
Songs from the Catechism – an 11-song CD
celebrating both the beauty of the document and its 450th anniversary.
created by theologians, seminarians
and church leaders in
was first published in
1563. Used to teach doctrine, the catechism
comprises 129 questions and answers divided into 52 sections on topics such as sin
and misery, deliverance from sin, thankfulness for deliverance, an explanation of the
Apostles’ Creed, and instructions on the Ten
Commandments and the lord’s Prayer.
“What I set out to do wasn’t to offer an
exact representation of what the catechism was, but breathe new life into it,” says
Zeyl, a member of the london-based trio
Isobelle Gunn. The project, and funding,
came at an opportune time – the band
was taking a sabbatical because Zeyl’s
wife and bandmate lara was pregnant.
“I thought, ‘I’ll try to write a couple
of songs and see if I’m inspired,’” says
Zeyl. “The whole project started shaping
from there.” Work began in 2012 after Ed
Den Haan, chairman of the stanford and
Priscilla reid Trust, heard Isobelle Gunn in
concert. The group sang “not My own,”
a decade-old song Zeyl wrote with lyrics
copied from the first part of the catechism.
“I was enthusiastic about the concept
of music and catechism together,” says
Den Haan. He also saw how the trust, which
promotes projects around the education
of reformed and Presbyterian theology,
might help. “[We] appreciated the catechism as a solid reformed statement of God’s
teachings. And we were much aware of the
anniversary.” The trust, through two separate grants, gave Zeyl $10,000 to write and
produce the CD. since its fall 2013 release,
Zeyl has been holding workshops on using
the songs in corporate worship. He’s also
considering a second CD for songs already
written, but didn’t make the cut. FT
The Ochieng family, new immigrants from
Kenya, cut the ribbon at the opening of the
new Canadian Friendship Centre.