Iranian refugee Amir Kazemian has been living in sanctuary at St. Michael's, Vancouver, for a year.

Amir Kazemian at St. Michael's, Vancouver

John Conway, chair of the Diocesan Refugee Unit, which along with the parish of St. Michael's has been supporting the 39-year old refugee, received permission from Diocesan Council last month to send a letter to parishes asking for funds for Kazemian's continued support.

"We have no idea when he will be released, or if he will be released," Conway told the council. "The deathly silence from the bureaucracy in Ottawa has been most discouraging." Kazemian began living at the church on June 14, 2004.

While the people of St. Michael's have been "absolutely, marvelously generous," said Conway, the Refugee Unit has spent all of its emergency budget of less than $1,000 to provide food, personal supplies, telephone cards, etc.

Conway said that donations should be directed through parishes to the refugee unit. For further information contact Bettina Gruver at the Synod Office, 604 684-6306, ext. 226.

(Following approval by Diocesan Council for fundraising, the trustees of the Diocese’s Gordon Allen Benjafield Fund provided a grant of $2,500 to the Refugee Unit, making a letter unnecessary at the present time.)