|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
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
|+ Robert Armagh
+ Walton Dublin
Further details from Bishops' Appeal
The Revd Ian Poulton