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An opportunity to witness and give generously

by Michael Ford last modified 15 May, 2020 02:37 PM

For 75 years Christian Aid Week has been an opportunity for churches to witness to what it means to be followers of Christ in a world divided by poverty.

While due to coronavirus things will be different this year, the fundamental truth of the week remains unchanged.

That was the message from our Diocesan Secretary David Pain when he preached from his kitchen as part of the Cathedral’s special online service marking the start of Christian Aid Week 2020.

David, who had previously worked for Christian Aid for 20 years, including 7 as head of the Africa Programme and 7 as Director of the UK department working in communications, campaigns and fundraising, explained that he had "been involved with Christian Aid since childhood."

"I went with my parents - hands full of red envelopes - to invite our neighbours to be part of something extraordinary. My children did the same with me."

He said that Christian Aid is a partnership of people, churches and local organisations committed to ending poverty worldwide and told those watching the virtual service about Emmanuel Hena, an engineering student, who had fled conflict to the safety of a camp:

“A couple of years ago I met Emmanuel, sitting under the partial shade of a thorn tree. Emmanuel was a Christian Aid volunteer helping organise the distribution of food in Northern Nigeria.

“Today the camp where he lives is the frontline of Christian Aid's response to coronavirus, which threatens the lives of the most vulnerable people in the world - most especially in refugee camps.

“In Nigeria alone, CA - with your support - is involved in feeding 50,000 people this week, among the 2m being reached this year by CA humanitarian programmes worldwide.

“When I asked him why he was volunteering, he told me: ‘I am passionate about helping people in need’. He was one of 100 people in his community who volunteered to help – they knew the community and were trusted to organise the distribution of food.”

David explained that Christian Aid always works through local organisations because they are best placed to understand people’s real needs and are accountable to people locally.

“Being there I felt a mixture of the stress of what it must be like to live in such conditions, not least in temperatures of 45 degrees, mixed with great respect of the resilience and humanity of the people I met like Emmanuel.”

David said:

“We give to the work of CA this week as a symbol of our shared commitment to the one global family to which we all belong. We may not be able to distribute and collect red CAW envelopes this year, but we can give online, we can pass on the e-envelope from the CA website.

“We are still invited to be part of something extraordinary, united as one human family as never before.”

You can donate to Christian Aid here,

And read David’s sermon in full here.

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