A total of 1300 churches spanning 15 denominations across Australia have come together to help communities around the world who have been affected by conflict and disaster and now must deal with the devastating impact of the coronavirus.
“This year the coronavirus has changed life for all of us, but for vulnerable communities who are already struggling the effects of this crisis are catastrophic,” said Hannah Montgomery from Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia.
She says that in Zimbabwe, families who have suffered so much already through drought, floods and food shortages have now lost their livelihoods.
These families are desperately in need of support to survive, making the Christmas Bowl appeal even more important than ever.
This year’s interdenominational pledge has been made to support one of the longest standing Christmas appeals in Australia – the Christmas Bowl, now in its 71st year.
The appeal was founded by Rev. Frank Byatt in 1949, when he looked at his own Christmas dinner table and felt the strong contrast between our abundance in Australia and the needs of others around the world.
He put a bowl on the table and asked family and friends to place a gift inside to help those less fortunate than themselves.
“This simple act resonated with so many, as it still does today,” Ms Montgomery says.
“Sharing a meal with family and friends at Christmas time and taking a moment to reflect on how we can share what we have with those less fortunate than ourselves is a tradition that everyone can relate to.”
The very first Christmas Bowl appeal raised £1808 – no small sum for a congregation at that time. Today, churches have raised more than $100 million through the Christmas Bowl appeal, illustrating the incredible impact that Australian churches can have when they work together.
“Giving to the 2020 Christmas Bowl appeal will support those people around the world who are most vulnerable in this global crisis,” said Dr Deidre Palmer, President of the Uniting Church in Australia.
“Through our generous giving, communities will be empowered to respond to health and socio-economic needs in ways that address the impacts of covid-19 and provide them with pathways to recovery.”
This year, donations can be made online and the Christmas Bowl appeal has a wide range of downloadable resources so participants can join in remotely if necessary: http://www.actforpeace. org.au/Christmas-Bowl/About/get-involved