The Centre for Newcomers Society of Calgary adopted the current name in 2005. CFN was initially incorporated as a Society and registered as a Charity in 1988 as the Calgary Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (CMCN) modelled after the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (EMCN), which started in 1980.
CFN was formed specifically to respond to the need for services for refugee claimants, especially those fleeing the civil wars in Central America, and arriving overland in Calgary. The Centre was founded by the Mennonite church congregations of Calgary, with the support of Mennonite Central Committee Alberta. "Mennonite" refers to a distinct theological tradition within Christianity, and also to two ethnic and cultural traditions through which this distinctive pacifist theology has been nurtured.
To learn more about Mennonite theology and history, click here.
In 2013, when the Centre for Newcomers celebrated 25 years of service in the Calgary community, founding members spoke to their family experience of migration, and about the impetus to create organizations to provide support to newcomers from very different regions of the world.
MCC Canada was the first denominational body to sign a Sponsorship Agreement for private sponsorship of refugees with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; through this provision, Mennonite congregations comprising less than 1% of the Christians in Canada assist in the sponsorship of about 500 refugees annually - more than 7% of the private sponsorship total.
In addition to the Centre for Newcomers and its Edmonton sister agency, have founded these immigrant or refugee service centres:
Maison d'Amite, Montreal
New Life Centre, Toronto
Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support, Kitchener
MCC BC Refugee Office, Vancouver