A Sponsorship Connection for Advent: A Family in Venezuela

Advent reminds us to share our abundance for the good of all, and our faith family has several partnerships through which we can do that: our diocesan partnership with the Diocese of Central Buganda, PWRDF (the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund), and Kairos (an ecumenical justice initiative). I offer one more option, one that is personal for me: this Advent I invite you to directly support a family in Venezuela by helping them purchase income-generating tools.

Henry and family

Henry Gomez-Barrios and I met as members of our countries’ Student Christian Movements: we and a dozen others lived outdoors together in Southern Ontario, learning to live in community, practicing simple living, and getting to know rural communities nearby. That was in 2001. Eleven years later, as part of my training for ministry through the Centre for Christian Studies, I and two other CCS students visited Venezuela for an educational tour, and Henry spoke to our group about economics in his country.

Student Christian Movement project, 2001

In 2019, Henry contacted me and some others from our 2001 group to ask for help with an initiative of his church, trying to raise awareness in Canada about the effects of U.S. and Canadian intervention on regular Venezuelans, the great need in Henry’s community and his own family, and the work of his church and another faith group that they are part of to try to care for the needs among them and around them. Some friends and I found that we could help their immediate situation by raising funds for sewing machines and a used car, which they will use to earn income. The items, exchange rate, and transfer fees have been priced out, and we are hoping to raise $7,690.

This project only helps one family, and by extension their community; but it is a very direct and real act of Christian solidarity across language and borders. I extend this invitation to our diocesan family in hope. 

To help sponsor this family,

please e-transfer: [email protected]

Alternatively, cheques may be given directly to me (Gwen McAllister), with the Memo “for Henry.” Since this is a small, direct sponsorship, we can’t offer charity receipts, but we can keep you updated regarding the project’s progress and results.

For more information about Henry, his family and church, and this project, please click here

Henry and family
Student Christian Movement Solidarity Summer Camp. Gwen is in the front row, second from the right. Henry is in the back row, rightmost
Henry with a plate of food, 2001


  • Gwen McAllister

    Gwen McAllister is Rector of St. Matthew’s, Winnipeg, a grad of the Centre for Christian Studies, and an alumnus of the Student Christian Movement. She lives in Winnipeg’s West End with her child, Keith, where they tend their cats, plants, and yard birds.

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