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The Church of Ireland

The Church of Ireland
News Briefing



15th October 2001

Afghanistan is a land of suffering. In recent times the people have suffered civil war, invasion and, most recently, one of the harshest regimes in the world. The countryside lies barren after years of drought. Millions of people are displaced.

Even before the current hostilities there was the prospect of widespread famine and starvation this winter. The Western powers have made it clear that they have no dispute with the people of Afghanistan and will seek to bring aid where possible.

We would urge a generous response from the members of our church in support of the aid effort and would encourage parishes to hold special church collections on Sunday, 18th November. The Scripture reading from the Old Testament for that Sunday seems particularly apt,

"I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of crying and weeping will be heard in it no more.

Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years"   Isaiah 65:19-20

We seek to respond to those who cry and weep, to those whose years are cut short by hunger and disease. An emergency grant of 20,000 has been made and the special collections will be added to this total.

We will direct funds via Christian Aid who have been working in partnership with local Afghan groups since the 1980s and who have workers both inside and outside of the borders of Afghanistan. Working through local partners ensures each pound given is used to the maximum effect. (The Christian Aid relief programme in the region has received grants of 500,000 from the UK Government and 200,000 from the Irish Government - marks of its accountability and effectiveness).

We know that we can count on your goodwill to regard this collection as in addition to the usual support parishes give to Bishops' Appeal. The continuing generosity of our parishes and people is vital to the long-term development projects supported by Appeal and we would be anxious that our response to Afghanistan should not jeopardise our support of peoples elsewhere who are struggling for survival.

We would hope that parishes would return collections to their Diocesan Office not later than 30th November to enable a swift response to the needs of Afghanistan and to avoid conflicting with the Christmas collections for Bishops' Appeal that take place in many of our parishes.

+ Robert Armagh

+ Walton Dublin

Further details from Bishops' Appeal

The Revd Ian Poulton

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