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.

Give a gift in memory of a loved one

Many of us like to make a gift in memory of a loved one who has died, either at the time of their death, or an anniversary date, or at a time like All Saints Day or Remembrance Day.  It’s a lovely way to honour the memory of a family member or someone who has been a significant influence on our lives.

One way to do that would be to give a memorial gift to the Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal.  Bishops’ Appeal works in two main ways – issuing emergency grants in the event of a disaster, and also in providing core funding grants to support ongoing work in parts of the world impacted most by climate change and poverty, and where we have the opportunity to support local churches and other trusted partners working on the ground to bring lasting change.

In the last two months (September and October 2023), Bishops’ Appeal has been able to issue emergency grants to support the relief of suffering resulting from the catastrophic floods in Libya, and the earthquake in Morocco, and to a hospital in Gaza dealing with those injured in the violence that erupted so suddenly between Israel and Hamas.

We were only able to respond to each of these emergency situations thanks to those who have given to the funds held by Bishops’ Appeal – and sadly we know that it is only a matter of time before there will be another disaster somewhere in the world where people will be left in need of emergency medical help, food, shelter and the basics of life.

If you would like to remember a loved one and know that their legacy is living on by helping people in desperate need – please give a donation in their memory through either the Church of Ireland website – https://store.ireland.anglican.org/donations/the-bishops-appeal – or Bishops’ Appeal website – https://bishopsappeal.ireland.anglican.org/give – or send a cheque for Bishops’ Appeal to Church of Ireland House, Church House, Rathmines, Dublin 6.  If you are a UK Taxpayer, we can reclaim tax on donations given through Gift Aid, and amounts in excess of €250 can qualify for tax relief as well.

Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of these, the least of those who are members of my family, you did it to me… Matthew 25:40

Growing Trees in Tanzania to target issues of poverty, hunger and climate change

Sikitu Manyanda with an Acacia tree at the training.

When a legacy or memorial gift is given to Bishops’ Appeal it can make a difference in one of two ways.  Either through an emergency response to a disaster, when it will enable Bishops’ Appeal to release an immediate grant of 10,000 euros for urgent medical and welfare aid.  Or by providing a development grant to make a lasting change in places where it can help make a difference for the long term.

Here is an example of how donations to Bishops’ Appeal have led to Acacia and Fig Tree nurseries being established in 12 villages in Tanzania, through a grant to Feed the Minds last year.

Feed the Minds partnered with SOCODEE to established Acacia and Fig tree nurseries in 12 villages in Bariadi and Magu Districts, and run training on environmental management and income generating activities to support 1,776 women.

Overall, a total of 52,895 Acacia and Wild Fig saplings were distributed to 1,147 women from across the 12 villages. Each woman received approximately 25 saplings, enough to start a small nursery which will enable farmers to increase their produce and the improve the environment as they will protect water areas around their farms.

Debora Posiani with the goat which she received as part of the project.

As well as the tree nurseries there were women who learnt about rearing and keeping goats, and others who were trained in smokeless stove construction or briquette making – not only enabling them to increase their incomes but also reduce their reliance on harmful indoor open-fire cooking.

The project addressed the compounding problems of low agricultural productivity, high levels of hunger and food insecurity, and poor environmental management in Tanzania.

If you would like to make a donation to Bishops’ Appeal general funds in memory of a loved one, it will create a lasting legacy by changing the lives of those most in need around the world.

Statement from the Archbishop of Dublin

“Pray for peace and that the dignity and life of every single person in the Land of the Holy One be respected.” Archbishop Michael Jackson has released the following statement yesterday evening:

I am sorry to bring you distressing news tonight (Tuesday October 17 2023) that al–Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City has been bombed with devastating consequences.

As many will know, al–Ahli is run by our friends in the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem. According to news reports hundreds of people have been killed in this attack.

Earlier today we heard from a clerical colleague in Jerusalem that up to 5,000 people had sought refuge in the grounds of al–Ahli as they believed it to be a safe place and the hospital still had a supply of water and electricity from a generator. However, he understood that these people had left following a rocket attack on Saturday.

The hospital is located in the evacuation zone in northern Gaza but staff have not evacuated as there are patients in the hospital who could not be evacuated. We heard that both staff and patients were terrified.

Our friends in the Diocese of Jerusalem have asked for our prayers and our voices at this time. I urge you now to pray for all the people of Gaza and of Israel. We pray for peace and that the human dignity and life of every single person in the Land of the Holy One be respected.

I also urge all people who have a voice in the political arena to raise it now on behalf of all who are living in terror, grief, trauma and facing death.

Prayers for Israel and Palestine can be found here.

Bishops’ Appeal has released €10,000 (equivalent to £8,650) in emergency funds to the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, which runs al-Ahli Hospital.  The Diocese includes 7,000 Anglicans worshipping within 28 congregations in Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.  It is responsible for more than 30 institutions, including hospitals, schools, clinics, rehabilitation centres, guesthouses, and retirement homes.

Thanks for supporting Habitat for Humanity’s Ukraine response

With your generous help, Bishops’ Appeal has been supporting Habitat for Humanity’s response to the war in Ukraine from the early days of the war.

We hope that this video, kindly provided by Habitat, will show the difference that your prayerful and practical support has made to families and individuals who are now building a new life.

Parishes are very welcome to show this video in services and other activities.  It can be downloaded from the following page on our Vimeo website: https://vimeo.com/873705717

Archbishops call for prayers for peace in the Holy Land

Archbishop John McDowell and Archbishop Michael Jackson have asked all members of the Church of Ireland to pray for peace in the Holy Land, following the outbreak of renewed conflict.  The Archbishops’ statement – provided in full below – accompanies the release of emergency humanitarian funds to our sister church in the immediate region, the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem:

The rapidly escalating and degenerating situation in Israel and Palestine awakens within us our deep compassion for our brothers and sisters of all faiths in the Land of the Holy One.  Where lives are lost through military attack and response, humanity in its entirety is diminished.  We all grieve.

The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem have called for peace and justice amidst unfolding violence.  They have unequivocally condemned any acts that target civilians, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity or faith.  They have called on the international community to redouble its efforts to mediate a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land.

The Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal for World Aid and Development is releasing €10,000 (equivalent to £8,650) in emergency funds to the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.  The Diocese includes 7,000 Anglicans worshipping within 28 congregations in Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.  It is responsible for more than 30 institutions, including hospitals, schools, clinics, rehabilitation centres, guesthouses, and retirement homes.  The Diocese runs Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza which provides medical care and support to all people, regardless of their faith or ethnicity.

We urge the people of the Church of Ireland to pray for peace in the Land of the Holy One and pray for wisdom for those in positions of authority to work towards an end to all violence.  We uphold to God in prayer all who are affected by the current conflict.  All human life is the gift of God.  The Church of Ireland, in its daily prayers, prays for people suffering in conflict, those who seek to bring care and relief, and the peace of the world.

A Prayer for the Peace of the World – from the Book of Common Prayer

Almighty God, from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed; Kindle, we pray thee, in every heart the true love of peace; and guide with thy pure and peaceable wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth; that in tranquillity thy kingdom may go forward, till the earth is filled with the knowledge of thy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Harvest giving supports people devastated by Libya floods

Mrs Florrie Hoey (Cathedral Reader), Ms Ruth Cooke (Christian Aid Ireland), and the Very Revd Shane Forster (Dean of Armagh) at Sunday’s Harvest service.

Last Sunday (1st October), St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, was adorned with beautiful flowers, fruit and vegetables as the congregation celebrated and gave thanks to God for the gifts of the Harvest.  Similar services will take place in churches the length and breadth of the country over the next few weeks with a particular focus on giving thanks for the food on our tables, those who provide for our needs, and for the warmth and shelter of our homes.  It is so easy to take all these things for granted in the daily routine of life but the recent earthquake and floods in Morocco and Libya have been a stark reminder that natural disaster can occur at any time in the world and the result is that people are left injured, bereaved and without food or shelter.

The Dean of Armagh, the Very Revd Shane Forster, reminded the congregation in the Cathedral that ‘in our duty to love God and love our neighbours we are called to be faithful in prayer and generous in our giving,’ and he encouraged everyone to offer their support to all those affected by the recent natural disasters, including through a financial donation to the Bishops’ Appeal.

Bishops’ Appeal works with agencies on the ground in various countries in time of need and to help with the development of local communities in the longer run.  A special appeal has been launched to raise money to support those directly impacted by the catastrophic flooding in Libya. All those funds will be channelled through Christian Aid who are working with Dan Church Aid, its ACT Alliance partner agency.

Ruth Cooke, from Christian Aid Ireland, was present in the Cathedral on Sunday morning and said: ‘It is easy to feel overwhelmed when we see reports on the news of disasters such as the recent flooding in Libya. However, in Christian Aid we believe that when we join together, our response can make a difference. We are grateful to Bishops’ Appeal for launching an appeal to support the work of our partner, Dan Church Aid, in Libya – as they respond both to the immediate needs of families in the aftermath of the floods and the longer-term reconstruction – and we are grateful to Armagh Cathedral for showing their support on Harvest Sunday.’

The Bishops’ Appeal for World Aid and Development is registered as a charity in Northern Ireland (101325) and in the Republic of Ireland (20019068), and those wishing to give with additional Gift Aid, or Tax Relief on gifts over €250, will find the relevant information – along with an option to give online – at this link: https://bishopsappeal.ireland.anglican.org/give


Thanks from Fields of Life for supporting girls’ education in Uganda

Last year, Bishops’ Appeal supported the I AM GIRL project in Uganda through our partner agency Fields of Life working on the ground. CEO Tony Gaston filmed a brief report during a visit to Uganda in late September ‘23, showing a school where a grant from Bishops’ Appeal is reducing the barriers to the education of adolescent girls.

Girls often missed school for several days each month during menstruation, simply because they did not have access to a clear source of water, soap and a safe, private girls’ latrine to wash in. Thanks to the generous support that you have given to Bishops’ Appeal, we have together been able to make a difference to Ugandan girls through the I AM GIRL project.

Hilary McClay
Bishops’ Appeal Education Advisor

Some great photos from the project showing the difference that our giving can make on the ground!

Libya appeal to help those whose lives have been devastated by the floods

Bishops’ Appeal for World Aid and Development has launched a disaster appeal in response to the catastrophic flooding in Libya. The floods, which were triggered by a Mediterranean storm, were focused on the city of Derna where almost 4,000 people are known to have died and over 9,000 are missing after torrents of rain and debris swept away entire districts.

Some 37,000 people in flood-affected areas have been displaced by the storm. The huge number displaced highlights the immediate humanitarian need for survivors now (facing needs of clean water, food, shelter, utensils and clothing), and into the coming months and years (rebuilding, reuniting, finding a safe place to call home).

Photo: Dan Church Aid/DCA

Support on the ground

This disaster has hit a country that already had a very complicated political situation, with power struggles leading to two opposing governments within Libya, and this has compounded the challenge of getting aid and support into the country.

The Bishops’ Appeal will be channelling all funds through Christian Aid who are working with Dan Church Aid (DCA), its ACT Alliance partner, who have had an established presence in Libya since 2011, providing a confidence that those on the ground have a clear understanding of the situation and how money raised in our parishes can be used most effectively. We are grateful for the confidence that this gives us that all money raised will be used to benefit those in greatest need.

DCA is providing medical support, helping to establish shelters to host homeless families, and distributing basic items such as blankets and bedding, sanitation and hygiene items and other essentials to these people who have lost everything.

Photo: Dan Church Aid/DCA

Endorsement from Archbishops

Calling for support for the appeal, Archbishop John McDowell remarked: “I wish to thank those involved in Bishops’ Appeal for their prompt reaction in making this provision and would encourage the members of the Church of Ireland to continue to give generously.”

Archbishop Michael Jackson added: “The plight of children, women and men in Libya is unthinkable. It is also a reality.  Members of the Church of Ireland working through Bishops’ Appeal have always been generous in responding to devastation and need.  I encourage you to pray for and to contribute to this appeal.”

How you can help

The Bishops’ Appeal has already released £10,000 in Emergency Aid from its reserves (currently equivalent to €11,500), and all monies raised by this appeal across the Church of Ireland will be additional funds to help with the disaster relief.

Parishes are asked to collect funds for this appeal for the next few weeks, and send all donations directly to Bishops’ Appeal, Church of Ireland House, Rathmines, Dublin 6, D07 CF67.

Photo: Dan Church Aid/DCA

The Bishops’ Appeal is registered as a charity in Northern Ireland (101325) and in the Republic of Ireland (20019068), and those wishing to give with additional Gift Aid, or Tax Relief on gifts over €250, will find the relevant information – along with an option to give online – at this link: https://bishopsappeal.ireland.anglican.org/give

For further information about Dan Church Aid, please visit www.danchurchaid.org. The ACT Alliance is a network of 146 church-based member organisations working in long-term development, advocacy and humanitarian assistance in 127 countries around the world. Readers can find out more about its website: www.actalliance.org

With thanks to Dan Church Aid for photography from Derna.

Bishops’ Appeal calls for prayer for Libya

The Bishops’ Appeal Committee has watched, with growing concern, the tragic news emerging out of Libya in the wake of terrible flooding in the past few days and as best we can we are monitoring the dreadful situation that is emerging.

As the number of dead and missing persons continues to grow, and as the need for emergency aid becomes more obvious, the Bishops’ Appeal Committee is exploring the best way to channel support via trusted partners working on the ground.

Clergy and parishioners are urged to include the people of Libya and those working to bring aid and support to them in both our personal and corporate prayers this Sunday. The Committee will be meeting on Monday, 18 September, and will issue a full statement in the coming days.