Christian Aid Week, 14–20 May 2017
This is another special year for Christian Aid. Two years ago we celebrated the 70th anniversary of its foundation; this year marks the 60th designated Christian Aid Week.
In 1945 the main challenge was to support the hundreds of thousands of refugees who had lost their homes and possessions in the Second World War. Since then Christian Aid has been involved all over the world, seeking to help those living ‘on the edge’ due to natural or manmade disasters, working alongside and through partners within the affected countries. For 60 years that work has been substantially funded through the efforts of individual collectors and churches during Christian Aid Week.
Despite the time that has lapsed since 1945, in 2017 the focus of Christian Aid Week is again on refugees. We are invited to stand alongside people like Nejebar, who with her family fled Afghanistan. Her husband Noor was a teacher – a government employee.
The Taliban announced that they would kill anyone in this position, so the family travelled for months, through rain and snow, with young children, risking their lives in a plastic dinghy.
They arrived in Greece with no more than a tent to protect against the wind and rain, no school for their children and no clear idea of what would happen next.
Noor described their initial reaction to arriving at the camp as ‘like suicide’. They thought they would stay there for ten days, but already this has stretched to six months, with no end in sight. Despite all their problems the family has welcomed two unaccompanied boys to live with them. Nejebar still has hope, most importantly ‘for our children’s future’.
We have all been shocked at the sufferings of refugees and asylum seekers this year, and dismayed where we have seen this turn to suspicion and fear. Our support in collecting, giving and praying will help Christian Aid to continue to meet these and other needs throughout the world.
Please consider whether you can spare two to four hours of your time between 14 and 20 May to conduct house-to-house collections in a road within our parish, to help reach out to Nejebar, her family and thousands like her. For more details, please contact Julie Sharp on firstname.lastname@example.org or 849186.
There will be a special service at the United Church in Jewry Street on Sunday 14 May at 6.30 pm, with an address by Christian Aid’s David Pain (who attends St Paul’s), and the voice of a 1945 refugee who still collects for Christian Aid as a ‘thank you’ for help he received then. There will also be two fund-raising ‘Big Brekkies’ – on Saturday 13 May at the United Church and on Saturday 20 May at the cathedral, with a sponsored cycle ride to the latter (register at www.bit.ly/bigbiketobrekkie_2017.
Rosemary Dunhill, District Co-ordinator