Margaret  Marquardt
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On Thursday, June 28 at Longhouse Native Ministry in East Vancouver, Metro Vancouver Alliance (MVA) held an evening gathering welcoming Bekele Woyecha, an Organizer with Citizens UK, a sister Alliance with MVA.

The focus of this summer gathering was “Civil Society’s Role in Welcoming Refugees.”

In attendance along with other member organizations of MVA, were member organizations of our diocese including: St. James, St. Clement’s, Urban Aboriginal Ministry located at St. Mary Magdalene, and the Eco-Justice Unit of the Diocese of New Westminster.

 If any parishes would like to know more about MVA and this form of community organizing, based on listening about what really matters to people in our parishes, and from there working with other organizations for the common good, Rev. Margaret Marquardt would be glad to connect with your parish and facilitate such listening circles in your parish.


Bekele joined Citizens UK in early March 2011. He is a Community Organiser in the New Citizens Organizing Team with the following core responsibilities: building the power of the African community in particular and the diaspora community in general; Coordinating training for the refugees welcome campaign and offering trainings; Reaching out to leaders in the Diaspora communities irrespective of religious, political, social or other backgrounds; making sure leaders in these communities are trained and developed to achieve the common good.

Prior to joining Citizens UK, Bekele was a human rights activist, writer, community leader and volunteer for the British Red Cross. He also held senior managerial positions in government departments in his home country Ethiopia before coming to Britain. He took the community organising training in March 2008.

Bekele collected his first degree in Business Management from the Addis Ababa University and he was the Human Rights Defender fellow of the University of Nottingham in 2009; where he studied International Human Rights Law.


  • Mr. Woyecha (centre) poses with the MVA folks including a number of people associated with the D of NW.
  • Bekele Woyecha headshot