Archbishops renew appeal for prayers for peace in the Middle East


A statement from Archbishop John McDowell and Archbishop Michael Jackson, issued on Sunday, 14th April 2024:

‘We renew our call for members of the Church of Ireland to pray that peace will prevail and humanitarian aid will reach all who suffer at this time.

Every human life has intrinsic value through its creation in the image of God.  Our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem continue, with great courage, to welcome and help people in need – regardless of their faith or background – in Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, through its hospitals, schools, clinics and rehabilitation centres.

We also remember in prayer all from our island who serve the cause of peace in the region and those whom they keep safe.’

Bishops’ Appeal thanks supporters for generosity

Thank you! The Bishops’ Appeal sends a message of thanks to all those who have supported recent appeals and given so generously to enable those in great need to receive help and practical aid around the world today.

Thanks to the generosity of parishes and individuals, at its meeting in March, the Bishops’ Appeal Advisory Committee has been able to allocate more than €200,000 (£171,000) of funds to support a wide range of relief and development work around the world.

At the security fence for Yei Vocational Training College, in South Sudan, funded with help from Bishops’ Appeal, are Morris Logulomo, manager, Tom Finlay from St John’s parish, Moira, and Baraka, an instructor from the college. Photo credit: CMS Ireland.


From supporting people displaced by the war in the Middle East and sending essential relief funds to the Diocese of Jerusalem, as well as stoves to people in Ukraine whose homes have been destroyed, every pound and euro we have received and can pass on makes an enormous – often life-changing difference.

Bishops’ Appeal also supports projects away from the media spotlight where the needs are equally urgent and where climate change is having a devastating impact on the lives of millions of people.

In Madagascar, we have been able to support a project promoting sustainable silk production businesses, which are replacing the previous dependence on cutting down trees to create charcoal.  Elsewhere, a Mothers’ Union literacy project in Burundi is not only supporting women to run businesses to support their families, but also basic literacy and numeracy skills help prevent fraud with the added bonus of the women being able to read the Bible for themselves.  Both these projects benefitted as a direct result of funds raised by the Dioceses of Tuam, Limerick and Killaloe during Bishop Michael’s peregrination around the churches.

Victims of two recent natural disasters in 2023 – the earthquake that devastated large parts of Syria and Turkey, and floods in Libya – have been provided with ongoing support through our partners on the ground locally.

Other projects in Malawi, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Somaliland will all receive support to enable lives to change, with training, green energy projects, and security measures around a vocational college which all help to address the many challenges people face in their everyday lives.

It is our privilege through Bishops’ Appeal to support brothers and sisters around the world who are often living in great need, but who are full of faith. As we celebrate the wonderful truth of Jesus’ Resurrection this Easter, let’s pray that the monies raised and distributed will bring the hope, kindness and goodness of God today and always.

‘A warm glow in a cold dark place’

Stoves in storage and ready for distribution in Ukraine.

Two hundred and fifty wood-burning stoves have been distributed in the Kharkiv region by Habitat for Humanity Ukraine in recent months.  Many arrived just in time for Christmas, and all will keep families warm and allow them to cook simple meals.

The current situation in Ukraine is challenging with more airstrikes, less support, and a general concern about the most vulnerable.  Bishops’ Appeal funds raised for people displaced in and from Ukraine by the war continue to support Habitat for Humanity’s work.  Warren, a Habitat volunteer, describes the difference the stoves make, saying: “They help not just physically but mentally. A warm glow in a cold dark place, something life-sustaining to tend to and have some control over in these uncertain and difficult times.”

In Romania, as well as support for Ukrainian refugees, the Government has asked Habitat to assist 400 people who have links to Romania and who have been evacuated from Gaza.  Habitat has provided some nights in a hotel to allow them to catch their breath, helped them plan their next steps, and provided social housing.


Thank you!

Thank you to each person, each family and each congregation who has given so generously to support the work of Bishops’ Appeal in 2023.

Thanks to you and your generous donations we have been able to support a wide range of health, education and rural development projects around the world. From Uganda, to DRC, Malawi, Burundi, Kenya, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cambodia to Chile and Peru, there are literally thousands and thousands of people who have benefitted from your support and generosity.

Blankets shared at a local project in Lebanon. Photo credit: Tearfund.

There are girls whom you have enabled to stay in school, survivors of domestic and sexual abuse who have benefitted from your kindness, farmers affected by climate change who have benefitted from training and support, literacy projects run by the Mothers’ Union which have enabled women not only to prosper in running their businesses but also read their Bible, and people at risk in leprosy hotspots who have been spared a lifetime of intense suffering – to name just a few.

You responded with incredible generosity to our appeals for those impacted by the disasters following earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, the floods in Libya, and most recently to our Advent and Christmas Appeal for Gaza and the Middle East.  Bishops’ Appeal also sent emergency support to those impact by the earthquake in Morocco.

In the face of almost overwhelming suffering, your generosity has enabled Bishops’ Appeal to support our partners working on the ground, demonstrating the kindness and compassion of Jesus to people facing incredible challenges. Together we have been able to make a real difference to the lives of many vulnerable men, women and children around the world.

It is a sad reality that there are still so many people living in poverty, in areas devastated by natural disaster, or displaced by violence and war – but what we have been able to do to help at least some of those affected is an expression of the Body of Christ in action – reaching out with our prayers and our gifts to help his children around the world.

The hymn–writer Graham Kendrick in his beautiful hymn God of the Poor (ICH 494) wrote these words:

God of the poor
Friend of the weak
Give us compassion we pray
Melt our cold hearts
Let tears fall like rain
Come, change our love
From a spark to a flame

Refuge from cruel wars
Havens from fear
Cities for sanctuary
Freedoms to share
Peace to the killing–fields
Scorched earth to green
Christ for the bitterness
His cross for the pain

Thank you for all that you have done in 2023 to support the work of Bishops’ Appeal! Let’s pray for a peaceful and Christ–centred 2024 around the world.

Still time to give to our Advent and Christmas appeal

On behalf of the Bishops’ Appeal Committee, we want to say a sincere thank you to all those individuals and churches who have already supported our Advent and Christmas appeal for those impacted by the war in Gaza and those supporting the many thousands of displaced people across the Middle East.

If you haven’t yet donated – there is still time.  Our appeal will remain open over Christmas and the New Year.

You can give online here or by sending a donation to Bishops’ Appeal, Church of Ireland House, Church Avenue, Rathmines, Dublin 6.

Photo credit: ESA 2023 (under licence CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO).

Displaced but not forgotten

The Advent and Christmas Appeal launched by the Church of Ireland’s Bishops’ Appeal for World Aid and Development, in the last days of November, focuses on the desperate situation in the Middle East.  No-one will be surprised by this – we only have to watch news updates on our TV screens, or news apps on our phones to see day by day stories of those whose lives have been destroyed since the October 7th massacre carried out by Hamas, and the actions of Israel in Gaza where thousands have been killed and injured, and according to the UN over a million have been forced to leave their homes.

Among those working with displaced people in the region is a Tearfund project in Lebanon – through a local partner. In addition to the escalation of violence between Israel and Gaza there was an increase in tensions and violent incidents along the Israel-Lebanon border.


Irish troops are currently stationed in the area, running Camp Shamrock, a UN peacekeeping base close to the Lebanon-Israel border.  They are there to try to keep the peace in the face of regular clashes and a deteriorating security situation between the Israeli Defence Forces, Hezbollah and other armed groups.

As fears grow of the conflict spreading into Lebanon, many thousands of people have already been displaced, and need emergency support and aid.  From food to mattresses to medicines – th

ose fleeing their homes have nothing and need emergency help simply to survive.

One displaced person from a village on the border, now in Lebanon with his family, said: “It was a difficult decision to leave. My home and my work are there, and I don’t know if it will still be there when I get back – we have no idea. Our lives are in that village.

“Everything here – the cleaning supplies, the blankets – is helpful. But the best thing is the mattresses – they are the perfect thing to give to people who are displaced.”

Speaking in early November, one of the project volunteers at the emergency supplies centre explained: “What happened recently in Israel and

Gaza and the consequences of it are making the situation even harder for the Lebanese.  The people who live in villages near the border have been especially affected and had to flee to Beirut.

“In the first weeks of the conflict alone about 19,000 people were displaced and the ones who stayed lived in constant fear.  Bombs were falling on them and they lost all their harvest, including the harvest of olives on which they heavily rely economically because the crops were contaminated with white phosphorus.”

Your generosity this Advent in response to this appeal for the crisis in the Middle East will make an incredible difference to people in great need, and make sure that they know they are not forgotten.

Online donations to Bishops’ Appeal can be made at and further details about how to give through parish collections, or by cheque or bank transfer, are available at

With thanks to Tearfund for photography.

Bishops’ Appeal announces Advent and Christmas Appeal 2023

Damage following an air raid in Gaza in early October. Photo credit: Ibrahim Zaanoun/Tearfund.

The Bishops’ Appeal Advent and Christmas Appeal for 2023 is focussed on supporting those who are in great need in the Middle East. The Holy Lands, the lands where Jesus himself lived and worked and worshipped. Where he demonstrated God’s love, compassionate kindness, and saving grace through his sacrificial death on the Cross for all mankind.

Where today the ‘little town of Bethlehem’ that we will sing about in our Carol Services is only a short distance from the devastation being experienced in Gaza, and from the kibbutz area where Hamas carried out their deadly massacre on October 7th.

Where just as 2,000 years ago Joseph and Mary had to flee with the infant Jesus to another land to escape violence and threats upon their life, so today many are having to flee from their homes to become refugees in other places, leaving behind what is left of their homes and possessions.

There is no doubt of the level of suffering that this conflict has caused, with men, women and children killed, injured, made homeless, and lives utterly devastated by the violence.

The Advent and Christmas Appeal this year asks that if you can, you give something to help those most affected. Those fleeing Gaza as refugees, those needing emergency medical care, temporary accommodation, practical help, food, medicines, support, care.

Our focus on the desperate needs in the Middle East enables us to partner with the United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough who are running the ‘Shine A Light for the Diocese of Jerusalem’ campaign, and also to help with the overwhelming needs of displaced people who are now living in Lebanon as well.

Our intention is to channel the funds raised through our trusted partners on the ground – the Diocese of Jerusalem (with whom the Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough has been in relationship for a number of years) in their outreach to those impacted by war, and also to Tearfund partners working in Lebanon and in some of the areas and countries bordering Gaza and Israel where already things are precarious and extremely tense. Where there is the danger of further tension, violence and devastation erupting at any time.

We are so aware that many people have given so very generously to Bishops’ Appeal during 2023 – to the victims of the earthquakes in Syria, Turkey and Morocco, the floods in Libya, and ongoing support for the victims of the war in Ukraine, and we are so grateful to all those who have given.

Yet as we move towards Advent and Christmas, it seems only right to maximise the focus on those in great need in the Holy Lands region and encourage those who are able to give – however small your gift may seem in the face of such unimaginable need, it will all add up, it will make a difference. £10 or £50, €5 or €50. It might cover an emergency food parcel, medicine, temporary shelter, or whatever the greatest need will be for that person.

Bishops’ Appeal envelopes are available in each diocese, or donations can be made directly at this link for those who prefer to give online:


Bishop Michael Burrows’ peregrination raises funds for Burundi and Madagascar women’s projects

Participants in the Mothers’ Union’s literacy and financial education programme in Burundi. Photo credit: Taking Pictures, Changing Lives.

Bishops’ Appeal warmly welcomes the support of Bishop Michael Burrows in his peregrination around the dioceses of Tuam, Limerick and Killaloe this month and early December.  When he visits every church building in the diocese, he will be collecting donations towards two projects he has chosen to support through Bishops’ Appeal.

The first is in Burundi, still one of the world’s poorest countries and one where women are severely impacted.  A literacy and financial education programme run by Mothers’ Union has dramatically improved the lives of those taking part.  Literacy impacts every aspect of life; whether you can give yourself or your children the correct dose of a medicine, or if you can read the correct prices in shops or are at risk of being cheated. The programme brings transformation to local communities, helping with financial empowerment, improves gender equality, and helps the Mothers’ Union deliver its aims of promoting legal marriage and positive parenting.

As one recent participant in the programme explains: “The programme is life changing…. It gives you a new lease of life. We have learnt to read and write so it has opened our eyes.  We make money and can feed and clothe ourselves and our children. We have bought land and built our own homes.” And nearly all the participants reported their joy that they could now read the Bible for themselves.

The second ‘Peregrination project’ to benefit will be a project in Madagascar which encourages people living in a remote village to set up sustainable silk businesses. The discovery of silkworms in the mangrove forest has opened up new possibilities for the villagers, instead of the traditional timber harvesting and charcoal production which caused significant damage to the land and environment.

Sustainable business training in Madagascar. Photo credit: Feed the Minds.

Feed the Minds charity works with local women to provide training in setting up sustainable silk businesses, providing education and training on silk production, ecology, financial and management skills to start their own micro–businesses to support themselves and their families. And the bonus is that the land is protected, and the climate is also benefitting as the ecosystem of the forest is protected.

More information about the Peregrinations and Bishop Michael’s route can be found on the diocesan website.

Emergency aid for victims of the floods in Libya

Photo credit: Dan Church Aid/DCA.

We are so grateful to the individuals and parishes who have responded so generously to our appeal for emergency aid for the victims of the floods in Libya, which devastated so many homes and families in September.

So far, we have been able to designate over €17,000 (equivalent to £14,800) from Bishops’ Appeal to be channelled through Christian Aid to those working on the ground in the region.

The appeal is still open if there are others who would like to send a donation to help with the huge task of rebuilding and repairing what was destroyed by the floods.  Donations can be made online, by cheque, through a bank lodgement or in local parishes – and details about how to give can be found at


Update on Turkey/Syria Earthquake appeal

Photo credit: Christian Aid.

On 6th February 2023 a devastating earthquake struck southern and central Turkey and northern and western Syria, causing widespread damage and tens of thousands of fatalities.

Thanks to the generosity of those who faithfully support Bishops’ Appeal with donations and legacies, an emergency grant of €10,000 was released immediately to Christian Aid working with partners on the ground in the affected areas, and an appeal launched to all our parishes for further support.

There was a wonderfully generous response to the appeal and a total of €249,520.65 and £19,216.08 has been sent to Christian Aid from Bishops’ Appeal, with a further grant of €10,000 sent to Tearfund Ireland for their work in the area.

Christian Aid has sent an update on their ongoing work which you can read here which focuses mainly on the situation in Syria. Much of focus of their work has now moved from emergency response into more longer-term development – supporting education, healthcare, and working with engineers to strengthen existing buildings such as schools against future shocks.

In Turkey, the money was spent on meeting immediate needs in the aftermath of the earthquake, and in addition, Christian Aid’s local partner gave 1,000 families affected in the Gaziantep area (in southern Turkey) with cash for Eid-ul-Fitr, so they could have the money they needed to buy food, clothes and some gifts for their children – maintaining important family, religious and cultural traditions. They also organised an Eid festival for more than 130 vulnerable children and some of their mothers with fun activities to mark the end of Ramadan. For communities who are displaced or in a time of crisis, observing religious or cultural holidays can be an important way of increasing individuals’ resilience and respecting priorities – specifically by offering children opportunities to receive care, play, and minimize disruption after an emergency.

A big thank you to all parishes and individuals who gave so generously to support the Turkey/Syria Earthquake appeal, and also to those who have given legacies and other donations which enable Bishops’ Appeal to make immediate donations in the face of emergencies like this.