Press Release: Refugee Crisis

And you are to love the stranger, for you were once strangers’ Deut 10:19

As large scale conflict and economic destitution pushes thousands of people to travel perilously to find refuge, Archbishop Richard Clarke and Archbishop Michael Jackson call on members of the Church of Ireland to respond as an integral action of Christian faith and welcome.

The Church’s response is three-fold. We invite parishes and individuals to participate in as many ways as they deem able. We recognise the local responses many individuals and parishes have already undertaken and thank people for their compassion and action.

Pray for the people who are displaced and traumatised, that they receive peace, security and welcome. Pray for all those who have lost loved ones in the conflict or through drowning in the Mediterranean. Pray for empathy and wisdom for the European Governments as they make decisions on how to respond to the crisis.
Engage with political representatives in order to encourage Governments to show courage and leadership in their responsibilities to refugees and to expand provision of refuge and re-settlement to people who are fleeing. You can do this by writing to or seeking to meet with your local TD or MP. You could also join with one of the campaigns organised by charities and agencies working actively in these fields.
Hold a special or a retiring collection on Sunday 13th and Sunday 20th September to respond to the needs of refugees fleeing Syria and Iraq both at their own borders and at European borders. These funds can be sent through Bishops’ Appeal and will be dispersed to agencies such as Christian Aid who are responding directly to the need of 12.2 million people in Syria, 4 million refugees in neighbouring Iraq and Lebanon as well as directing funds to NGOs responding to the need in EU countries.
For more information contact Lydia Monds, Education Advisor, Bishops’ Appeal:

Inequality: Facts & Statistics

Thanks to Irish Aid Funding, Bishops’ Appeal has produced a leaflet full of information and guidelines entitled ‘Global Poverty and the Church’s Response’.  Click here for the whole leaflet: Bishops Appeal Irish Aid Leaflet on Global Poverty

One section explores the vast chasms that global inequality breeds.  Here are the statistics from the leaflet…and some more besides…


”And he said to them, ”Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of one’s possessions.” 

– The Teachings of Jesus, Luke 12:15

‘‘In the long run men inevitably become the victims of their wealth. They adapt their lives and habits to their money, not their money to their lives. It preoccupies their thoughts, creates artificial needs, and draws a curtain between them and the world.”

Herbert Croly, U.S. political philosopher (1869-1930)

  • There are 27 million slaves in the world today – more than there was during the time of the slave trade.  (These figures were true in 2010.  However, in the past 5 years this number has escalated to 35 million, at the same time as the richest people in the world became exponentially richer – see the first graph below.)
  • 4.5 days of current global military spending is the amount needed to provide basic education for every child on the planet.
  • Today 2.1 billion people are forced to defecate in the open because of lack of toilets and 850 million people are dependent on surface stagnant water for drinking and cooking.
  • The richest 1% own 80% of the world’s resources.
  • In industrialised countries, consumers throw away 286 million tonnes of cereal/grain products. That is the equivalent of 763 billion packets of pasta….and 842 million people are malnourished/half the world is hungry.
  • The billions lost in tax dodging by corporations could fund entire national welfare systems, transform healthcare programmes and develop new industry.
  • 250 million children in developing countries are forced to work, many in sweatshops.
  • Studies show that doubling the salary of sweatshop workers would only increase the consumer cost of an item by 1.8%, while consumers would be willing to pay 15% more to know a product did not come from a sweatshop.

“The disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition is the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.”

Scottish political economist (1723-1790)

billionaires graph

inequality pyramid

The super rich can view the lower classes as subhumanIt is very hard to justify your huge wealth unless you see people beneath you as less deserving. Once the wealth gaps become very large, it is easier to get through the day if you see them as less able, less special. When earlier this month the civil society minister Brooks Newmark told people involved in charities that they should “stick to their knitting” rather than concern themselves with what might be causing the problems they were trying to remedy, he was exhibiting just such a “don’t worry your pretty little head” attitude.

At the extreme, the less fortunate may not be seen as people at all. That was the finding of a study from Princeton University in which MRI scans were taken of several university students’ active brains while they viewed images of different people. Researchers saw that photographs of homeless people and drug addicts failed to stimulate areas of the brain that usually activate whenever people think about other people, or themselves. Instead, the (mostly affluent) students reacted to the images as if they “had stumbled on a pile of trash”.

The more economic inequality there is in a country, the more people are prone to instantly size up each others’ status upon meeting. Some quickly cast their eyes down; others look over the shoulders of those they don’t think they need to respect. Social psychologists from Berkeley and Amsterdam have studied strangers in situations where one told the other of a difficult personal experience, such as a death in the family. The larger the social gap, the less compassion was shown. Such behaviour, and the acceptance of it as normal, becomes much more prevalent in those places where the 1% have taken the most.

-Excerpt taken from a Guardian article:

Press Release: Nepal Earthquake Appeal

The Situation:

On Saturday 25th April, a powerful earthquake hit Nepal, leaving devastation in its wake. Bishops’ Appeal immediately became a conduit for any funds donated for rescue and relief efforts. Today, Archbishop Richard and Archbishop Michael have elevated this response to a Major Emergency Appeal.

Currently over 4,300 people are dead with that figure estimated to rise to 10,000 as entire villages remain unreachable at this time. Thousands of injured people line the streets as buildings are either demolished or unstable and hospitals inundated.

Information is still coming in from the major cities, and rural areas near the epicentre have been completely cut off by avalanches. In some areas near Gorkha, it is estimated that 80% of households have been destroyed or severely damaged.

The Government of Nepal has declared a state of Emergency.


nepal c

The Response:

Bishops’ Appeal has released £10,000 and has directed these funds towards search and rescue efforts, the setting up of makeshift medical centres, water purification and shelter. All funds channelled through Bishops’ Appeal will be in support of the invaluable efforts of Christian Aid and Tearfund partners in the most affected areas of Nepal.

Bishop Patrick, Chairperson of Bishops’ Appeal states: ‘We urge individuals, parishes and dioceses to give generously to help the eight million people who have been affected by the earthquake. We pray that those responding on the ground gain access to the resources that they need to bring hope and healing.’

Bishop Patrick also requests that donations to the earthquake victims are given over and above general giving to Bishops’ Appeal so that other impoverished communities do not suffer at this time due to redirected funds.

Christian Aid have highlighted that as little as £5 or €6.85 can provide a hygiene kit and £100 or €137 can provide a waterproof temporary shelter for 4 families.

Donations can be sent to: Bishops’ Appeal, Church of Ireland House, Church Avenue, Rathmines, Dublin 6.

Electronic donations can be made to Bishops’ Appeal Euro or Sterling accounts with the word ‘Nepal’ in the subject line. If you wish to receive an acknowledgement of funds donated, please Bank details can be found on our

Thank you for your support.


Additional Information:

Christian Aid has estimated the costs of getting different items to people in need:

People need immediate help with food, clean water, warm clothes, blankets, hygiene kits and emergency shelter.

Item Cost £ Cost €
Plastic mugs for a family of 5 £0.85 €1.16
Two cooked meals for one person staying in a relief camp £1 €1.37
100 purification tablets £1.75 €2.40
One Woollen blanket £2 €2.74
15 litre bucket for storing water £3 €4.11
Emergency hygiene kit (soap, toothpaste etc.) £5 €6.85
Blankets for ten people £13 €17.81
Bedding set (Inc. blankets, mats, beds, mosquito nets) £15 €20.55
Waterproof temporary shelter for a family of five £25 €34.25
Cooking utensils for one family £35 €47.95
Two cooked meals for 50 people/ 10 families in a relief camp £50 €68.50
Waterproof temporary shelter for four families £100 €137
Water resistant tent for one family £150 €205.50