Refugee Stories: Seeing God in the Journey, Identity and Mission


Ruth Cassidy

Publication Date



In this dissertation, I present the life stories of seven Christian refugees who are missional and living in the Toronto/Hamilton area of Canada. I give a running commentary of each life story interspersing the theoretical stages of Clinton’s Leadership Emergence Journey to show how each one moves through the stages. Some are further along the Leadership Emergence Journey continuum than others are, yet all show a common trajectory toward Convergence. I use life stories both as a methodology and as a recommendation in my change strategy.

I use the theory of the missio Dei as the hermeneutical integrating idea that links all of Scripture to contemporary mission and, in particular, to these seven missional refugees. Each life story leads beyond the meaning of the story in itself to a greater meaning found in Scripture and rooted in the missio Dei.

For a more intense focus on Scriptural themes of missional refugees, I use Lingenfelter’s “pilgrim way of life” theory as the integrating idea. It is not specific to refugees; however, it is specific to “agents of transformation” in the missio Dei operating across the five social “ways of life” identified by Thompson, Ellis and Wildavsky. I use it both as a model by which to compare and contrast my missional subjects and as a recommended lifestyle for those struggling with identities in upheaval, despair and diminished capacity to witness due to the devastating effects of migration.

Since the context is Canada, I explain the “politics of difference” theory that underlies Canada’s multicultural policy of “unity with diversity” and suggest ways that it benefits refugees and mission. The concept of “unity with diversity” surfaces in a discussion of creation, the fall, and restoration that, I argue, demands a paradigm shift in the expectation that the dominant culture should assimilate refugees.

Integrating the leadership, theological, anthropological and philosophical theories with an analysis of three biblical refugees and seven contemporary refugees, I make recommendations for change that will benefit refugees and missiology.

Mentor: R. Daniel Shaw

Degree Name

Doctor of Missiology (DMiss)

First Advisor

Shaw, R. Daniel

Document Type





Church work with refugees, Refugees, Canada, Ontario, Toronto


Missions and World Christianity


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