Bishops urge Connor parishes to help cyclone victims

Wednesday May 14th 2008

Parishes in Connor are being urged to both pray and raise funds for the cyclone victims of Myanmar (Burma) in an appeal initiated by the four Bishops in the Diocese of Lichfield.

In a statement the Rt Rev Jonathan Gledhill, Bishop of Lichfield; the Rt Rev Alan Smith, Bishop of Shrewsbury; the Rt Rev Gordon Mursell, Bishop of Stafford; and the Rt Rev Clive Gregory, Bishop of Wolverhampton, say people are probably watching the pictures from Myanmar with a feeling of helplessness, and asking 'What can I do to help?'

“It is difficult to know what to do when faced with a disaster on this magnitude: tens of thousands dead, 40,000 people missing and one million people homeless,” they Bishops state.

“But there are two things we can do which will make a big difference. We can pray and we can give. Some people have already given through the Disasters Emergency Committee. However, we wish to commend a way of responding further, following the lead of our companion diocese of West Malaysia, which has close ties with the Anglican Church of Myanmar.”

The Bishops’ statement continues: “The Anglican dioceses in Burma are already engaged in long-term agricultural, educational and sustainable development initiatives. Local churches in the country are already deeply involved in the current relief efforts, but they are already looking to the rebuilding and replanting work that will be essential in the coming weeks and months.

“We are now making an emergency appeal for funds to assist the long-term rebuilding work that will be needed in Burma.

“Every penny received from this appeal will be used to aid the people of Burma, primarily through the Anglican Church in Myanmar working with the mission agency USPG: Anglicans in World Mission.”

The Bishops are urging all churches to hold separate collections, in addition to their usual collections, on Sunday 11th or Sunday 18th May – or on another suitable occasion – and to encourage congregations to respond generously and positively, using Gift Aid envelopes where they can.

They also want parishes to give details of this appeal on their websites, in parish magazines and on pew-sheets pointing people to the website

The Bishops said Anglican partners in West Malaysia have already sent an immediate cash gift to the Church in Burma.

Their statement continues: “Of course, in addition to financial gifts, we also need to pray for the victims of the disaster – those who are bereaved, those who are injured, the homeless, the suffering; we need to pray for the leaders of Burma and for the international community – including the United Nations – that a way will be found for the international community to play a full part in the relief efforts; we need to pray for the Christian community of Burma, for strength and wisdom as they respond to the disaster around them; and we need to pray for international aid agencies, including British organisations such as the Disasters Emergency Committee, and its members, which include Christian Aid and Tearfund, as they consider how best to bring relief from the suffering.

“Please respond positively to this disaster and demonstrate the love of God in a practical way to desperate people,” they conclude.

You can support the Bishop of Lichfield's Emergency Appeal by sending a cheque, payable to "Bishop of Lichfield's Emergency Appeal" to Saint Mary's House, The Close, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 7LD, or through Internet Banking (details below). If you are a tax-payer please Gift-Aid your donation using the pledge form below.

Note: Churches should visit the link for the appeal letter with the Gift Aid instructions and form:

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