We are just coming to the end of Christian Aid Week. The organisation originated just after the Second World War in seeking to bring help to the countless refugees as a result of the war.
It makes it one of the oldest projects of this kind with the idea of the week of activities forming in 1957. Today the concept of having a week to focus upon a particular scheme is common place with the subjects covered of extreme diversity. It wouldn’t surprise me if there wasn’t an ingrowing toenail awareness week!
Christian Aid does what it says on the tin. It is a Christian organisation applying the principles Jesus taught us in showing love and compassion to our neighbours.
This year the focus is on Bangladesh and particular upon the people living on the islands of silt in the middle of rivers and seeking to support the work of organisations in collaboration with Christian Aid. They make resources available for churches and schools so that people can make informed choices about how to support the work. There are also resources to help in the crucial task of raising funds.
Christian Aid doesn’t just give simple aid, but helps people to live. They practice the principle of give a man a fish you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for life.
So the week has a twofold purpose. One is to educate and help those in the wealthy west to understand the plight of some of the poorest people in the world, and secondly to raise funds to help them.
Traditionally local groups have done door to door collections like in Lewes and other towns and villages of the area. An envelope is put through the door and then some days later collected, hopefully with money or a commitment to give.
A difficulty Christian Aid faces is that today there are many different ‘weeks’ which focus on different issues. So Christian Aid Week becomes simply one of many.
It has lost some of its impact due to this, but also because with so many charities making demands on us it is again simply one among many. It has compensated by creating many different ways to raise money and encouraging people to get involved.
The result is that the week raises in the region of a whopping £12m!
That is money that goes to help the poorest people on earth.
That has got to be good. So for all those individuals, churches and groups that somehow have been involved in supporting Christian Aid Week this year – we salute you! Well done and thank you!