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