Our church is supporting Christian Aid week in three ways: some of us will be taking part in the East Herts Christian Aid Walk on May 9th, we will be delivering envelopes around Hertford Heath during the week, and you are all invited to bring your envelope back to church on Sunday 17th, where from 11.30 onwards, we will offer you coffee & cake, and wash your car for you (for an extra £3!)
Christian Aid began on the Sunday after VE Day in May 1945, when churches were asked to give money to help reconstruct Europe. Amazingly, one weekend’s giving produced over £3 million in today’s money, from a country exhausted by 6 years of war.
In the 1950s they helped found Voluntary Service Overseas and Christian Aid Week was established. It is the biggest act of Christian giving in Britain and Ireland which in 2014, thanks to the active support of an incredible 20,000 churches across the UK and Ireland, and tens of thousands of supporters, raised some £11m.
In the 1960s Christian Aid took the lead in setting up the Disasters Emergency Committee to ensure different relief agencies cooperated rather than competed during a crisis. In the 1970s it enabled 500, 000 slum dwellers in Calcutta to have clean water, sanitation and primary education.
In the 1980s it issued an emergency appeal for Ethiopia raising £1.35 million and campaigned to end apartheid in South Africa. In the 1990s it helped to establish the Fairtrade Foundation and successfully called for western governments to drop $130bn of debt owed by poor countries.
In the 2000s it reached more than half a million people in need after the Indian Ocean tsunami and in the 2010s it has helped 953,500 Africans to adopt preventive health practices and get the medical treatment they need.
All of this has been done through the dedication and generosity of Christian Aid supporters.
This year, people will have the chance to support some of the world’s poorest communities in Ethiopia, where drought is causing great suffering to women and families. When their husbands have to drive livestock further away to find pasture they are left with the task of making back-breaking journeys to collect firewood to sell. Even a couple of goats or a cow can make all the difference and can enable them to feed their families far better. Christian Aid is providing them with that chance.