• Mayor Jenny Dowell"I'm thankful for Sanctuary because by bringing refugees here, they have made Lismore a better place."
    - Jenny Dowell, Mayor of Lismore
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  • Rod Dymock"I am grateful for the rich, diverse colours added to the tapestry of our community by the individuals and families resettled in Lismore through the work of Sanctuary and dedicated folk committed to sharing the visible and invisible resources we all enjoy together in our city and area."
    - Ps Rod Dymock, CentreChurch Lismore

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  • kizito nganduI thank God for..putting Sanctuary in my way to help me and my family to come this far I am today. I also thank you the Lismore community, and especially the Byron Shire people, through the Uniting Church Mullumbimby. Without your love, passion and support our hope could be melted in vain. As true friends you have brought to me and my family a new face, new identity, new Country, new life and a big smile. Please call me Friend forever.....
    Kizito Ngandu
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  • Michael Douglas"We reached to far lands with hospitable hearts. We were gifted with joy, and pilgrims who teach us how to love."
    -Dr Michael Douglas, President Sanctuary Northern Rivers
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  • ShannonThankyou for the love the humanness and the diversity that you have brought into my family and community, I am eternally grateful for the opportunity and honour that come’s with knowing you.
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  • Isaac Smith"Those who come to our shores in search of a new life are very welcome from where I stand. The Lismore experience has been one of joy and contribution, where refugees have changed our community for the better."
    - Cr Isaac Smith - Deputy Mayor of Lismore
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  • Sarah King"I thank God for providing me a home here in Lismore, family, friends and a community that continues to impact my life in a profoundly positive way."
    Sarah King, Sanctuary Northern Rivers Board Member
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  • janet wilsonI am thankful for the new opportunities and friendships that have become part of my family life.We are all enriched by the arrival of new families.
    Janet Wilson
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  • ian phillipsGrowing up in Coopers Shoot, I never would have dreamed that I would have such great friends from such faraway places. Thankyou Jesus for bringing these people into our lives, and enriching our community so much.
    Ps Ian Phillips, Sanctuary Board Member
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  • meg heggenI am thankful for the friends I've gained through extending a helping hand and listening ear to the new settlers and their families. My life has been greatly enriched by their laughter.
    - Margaret (Nana) Heggen
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  • Gianpierro and Rebekka Battista"The Lismore community, with the generous support for those less fortunate wishing to start a new life, is an example of the generosity and Grace Jesus has shown throughout his life. I am thankful that such an inspired teaching is applied and practiced in our city by way of helping refugees settling on our shores."
    - Cr Gianpierro Battista, Lismore City Council

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  • nathan willisThankful for Sanctuary Northern Rivers which has changed lives for a generation of refugees and their descendants. Knowing refugees (and former refugees) as friends is a privilege and we are changed as we engage with their lives. An enduring community is woven when we choose Love as the thread.
    Nathan Willis - Solicitor
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  • Hamisi Lumona"First of all, I give thanks to my Lord God for creating me. Also I'm very keen to say thanks to the Sanctuary members for giving me and my family a good place to be, and to know more people here in Lismore."
    - Hamisi Lumona
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  • sibomanaI would like to thank our God because helped me and my family to come here through Sanctuary Northern Rivers Organisation.I want people who live in Lismore community to know how much we appreciate to live with them. It is rare to find such kind friends like them.I am glad to find good friends.
    Sibomana Nzaramba
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  • janelle saffin"I am thankful that we have so many wonderful new arrivals, strangers, but now friends, who come to the Northern Rivers. I am also thankful that we have so many compassionate people in our community who give sanctuary and solace to those when they most need it."
    Janelle Saffin
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  • Djuma KikombeThank you God for bringing Sanctuary and Lismore community into my life. Meeting you has been a most rewarding moment of my life. For your patience, kindness, advice and devotion, you are the most irreplaceable and incomparable assets I have. You are the source of my strength and sustenance, thank you for your commitment, moral support and loyalty. Words are often inadequate to express my joy for your help. For sharing my dreams; for your invaluable help, care and patience, I say again bid thank you.
    Djuma Kikombe
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  • Jean-Claude "Thank God for good friendships and a peaceful life. Through your people I have seen and learned a true love that has transformed my life and has made me a new person; my hope has come back and my fear has gone forever. Many thanks to Sanctuary and all the Lismore community."
    - Jean-Claude Mapatano, Sanctuary Northern Rivers Board Member
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  • kevin hoganI thank God for the refugees who have chosen the Northern Rivers to be their Home. We are a richer community in so many ways because of their presence.
    Kevin Hogan - Federal Member for Page
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  • meurrise"Real people, real need, real support from the real community: Lismore is always the best".
    Meurrise Masonga
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  • marieI am thankful for the wonderful new friendships and the rich exchange of culture since being involved in helping some of our resettled families. Their resilience and resourcefulness is inspiring.
    Marie Phillips
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  • Cameron Venables"I thank God for all who have come... for the laughter and tears, and the opportunity to share life together."
    - Bishop Cameron Venables Diocese of Brisbane - Western Region
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  • Thomas George"Being a son of Lebanese Christian Migrants, I thank God for the opportunity, care and respect that has been extended to the refugees who have settled in our community and for the cultural diversity that they have brought to our Region. I am extremely grateful to the community who have embraced them with generosity and open hearts."
    - Thomas George MP, NSW State Members for Lismore
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  • Etienne EmediI thank God for what he has done in my life. Once I was a stranger, now friend. I'm proud to be part of this great Australian community, especially Lismore. Through Sanctuary Northern Rivers' support I have achieved many things in my life that I never dreamed before. Special thanks to Centrechurch - with them I feel covered by a very close family.
    Etienne Emedi
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  • Rev Alan Shaw"I am thankful for the deep friendships that have grown through helping our African neighbours become Australians."
    - Rev Alan Shaw, Interim Ministry Leader St Andrews Anglican Church, Lismore
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  • manya sanvuraI thank God for giving the privilege to call Lismore my hometown :)
    Manya Sanvura
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  • Anuarite SanvuraI thank God for bringing us in this beautiful land, I also thank the Lismore community and all the volunteers who helped us settle in this country.
    Thanks and bless you all.
    Anuarite Sanvura
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  • adeyemiI want to give God thanks and praise for keeping me. I also want to thank my new Aussie family such as The members of St Paul's Lismore, Sanctuary Northern Rivers, Scrabble team members and the Lismore Workers Football Club as you made and always make me and my household belonged. Thank you and God bless you All.
    Adeyemi Johnson
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Interview with Monica Matoc

Interview with Sibomana Nzaramba


Saturday 25th July 2015

4pm start

with an African flavour afternoon tea at Lismore Presbyterian Church

Concluding approx 6pm.

Donation to defray costs and for the work of Sanctuary Northern Rivers


Lismore Presbyterian Church
188 Keen St Lismore



Bishop Cameron VenablesBishop Cameron Venables is our keynote speaker. Bishop Cameron was instrumental in the formation of Sanctuary Northern Rivers in 2003, whilst a minister at the Anglican Church in Lismore. Cameron has continued his involvement with resettlement in Queensland where he served as rector of All Saints Rockhampton for several years.

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In recent years, many people who were once refugees have resettled in our region. For Lismore this has been a wonderful good news story. Not only have people found a place of safety, but this community has been greatly enriched. "Once Strangers Now Friends" is an opportunity to be thankful for the wonderful bonds of friendship that have been formed. Please join the thanks on Sat 25th July. An initiative of Lismore Ministers' Fellowship.