Presbyterian Church launches Christmas overseas Covid appeal

Dessie Blackadder

Reporter:

Dessie Blackadder

THE Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI), Rt Rev Dr David Bruce, has launched a special Christmas Appeal to provide support to people in fragile, vulnerable countries suffering due to Covid-19.

Dr Bruce explained that his appeal is aimed primarily at PCI’s 500-plus congregations, including those in County Antrim, and replaces the Church’s annual World Development Appeal for this year.

“For the last four decades or more, Presbyterians the length and breadth of the country have given prayerfully, generously and sacrificially to support sustainable life-changing projects around the globe through our World Development Appeal. As the worse global pandemic in a century wreaks havoc and undoes decades of development work in so many parts of the world, this year we needed to do something different.”

Dr Bruce continued, “The effect of Covid-19 on the economies of the more fragile, low-income nations of the world is multiplied. Of course, it has had a major impact here on our island home, and I know at first hand the unprecedented demands that it has also placed on our congregations and on our members. Yet, I believe Presbyterians are a people who have been shaped over the years by faithful prayer, deep compassion and practical concern for those in need, as well as sacrificial giving when faced by emergencies, which come before us, and will respond as they have done before.”

Funds donated to the Moderator’s Christmas Appeal will be distributed between PCI’s relief and development partners, Christian Aid and Tearfund, who are already engaged on the ground in longer term sustainable development work amongst those most affected by Covid-19. They will also go to churches with which PCI partners directly to support relief efforts in seven countries on three continents - South Sudan, Malawi, Indonesia, Nepal, Lebanon, Syria and Romania.

Rev Dr Liz Hughes, Convener of PCI’s Council for Global Mission said that in previous years church members had responded generously, raising upwards of a quarter of a million pounds for the World Development Appeal.

“Our last Moderator’s Appeal in 2018 was in response to Cyclone Idai and raised £408,655 (€450,174). In an increasingly globalised world, I think we all feel that we have more in common with our neighbours, near and far, than ever. Standing with them, in this pandemic, we have a further opportunity to be global disciples, sharing God’s heart for the world,” Dr Hughes said.

“In 1 Corinthians 12:26, scripture reminds us, “If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it…” The Moderator’s Christmas Appeal invites us to stand in solidarity with our global neighbours, in particular those who do not have a safe home within which to weather the latest storm, but who must face the onslaught of Covid-19 in fragile and precarious conditions. I hope and pray that this appeal will be a blessing to many.”

For details of how to donate see www.presbyterianireland.org.

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