The Volunteers in Mission (VIM) program was approved by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) in 1986, and by the National Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) in 1991. It is a program where people of different ages, backgrounds, skills and professions may offer themselves for full-time voluntary service overseas or in Canada, usually for six months to two years. It responds to requests for qualified volunteers to fill specific needs identified by our partner churches and institutions. The ELCIC VIM Program operates from the national office in Winnipeg and cooperates with the ACC VIM program in Toronto.
Volunteers in Mission recognizes our need as Canadian Christians both to learn and to share, as well as to give and receive gifts and ministries from people of other parts of Canada, other countries, cultures and churches. It acknowledges that one of the most effective ways of implementing this principle is through personal contact, experience and service.
- To provide an opportunity to learn first-hand about the life, work, worship and witness of Christians in different cultures and/or countries, and in other places in Canada.
- To facilitate the involvement of Canadian parishes and synods in the ministry of the volunteers.
- To enable volunteers to share their faith, knowledge, skills and personal presence in the service of Christ and his church with a partner church or institution, with an emphasis on training others in the area of the placement to continue the work.
- To forge links between Canadian synods, parishes, partner churches and institutions, promoting understanding of the global and the local nature of God's mission.
- To enrich the relationship between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Anglican Church of Canada.
This program is for Canadians of different ages, backgrounds, skills and professions. Volunteers must be at least twenty-one years of age and in good physical and mental health. They must have the endorsement and support of their home parish. They will normally be communicant members of the ELCIC or the ACC and may be lay or clergy.
Note: Candidates under the age of 21 may be considered for some placements in Canada and joint placements with the Young Adults in Global Mission program of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
A cornerstone of this program is the opportunity for the vital involvement of synods and parishes to provide spiritual and financial support prior to departure, during the field placement, and upon the volunteer's return home. A support group, normally based in the home parish of the volunteer, is set up to help make this happen. The support group will share the experience with the volunteer by:
- providing prayer and moral support.
- raising funds for airfare, medical insurance, and living costs.
- helping to plan their commissioning service.
- communicating with them while they are away.
- distributing newsletters they send home.
- helping them to adjust when they return home.
- assisting them to share what they learned.
Volunteers in Mission staff will coordinate the program, facilitate selection and preparation of volunteers, solicit requests, match volunteers with requests, help set up the support group and provide other assistance as required.
Each volunteer must have the approval of his or her parish and complete an application along with 5 reference forms. If the candidate's forms are in order, acceptance as a Volunteer in Mission is dependent upon an interview conducted by the Program Coordinator and an interview panel in the home area of the volunteer. Once accepted, the Program Coordinator will seek approval from a host church or institution for the volunteer to be matched with a suitable placement. Candidates and accompanying family members must have medical clearance from a physician and appointments are conditional upon a positive medical assessment from the VIM Medical Director.
The support group, with the assistance of the volunteer, is responsible for raising sufficient funds to cover the costs of such things as return travel, a modest living allowance, and health insurance. In most cases, furnished housing and work-related travel will be provided at the placement by the host institution.
The VIM national budget will cover the costs of the interview and orientation of the volunteer and any related expenses such as travel to the orientation site.
NOTE: The steps in the VIM process can be lengthy and time consuming. The steps prior to departure will normally take a minimum of four months and may take twelve months or more to accomplish. The time required to process the work permits, visa, and other documentation will vary depending upon the country and region concerned.
If VIM looks like the program for you, contact the International Volunteer Coordinator for more information and assistance.
Sr. Monica Denk
International Volunteer Coordinator
1080 Kingsbury Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R2P 1W5
Telephone: 204.631.0118 or 1.800.661.2597