GATHER is a national network of vibrant missional unity movements in villages, towns, cities and boroughs
Building a vibrant virtual Christian Aid Week
In the space of just a few months, the coronavirus pandemic has caused a seismic shift in society.
The outbreak has affected all spheres of life. It has brought suffering and uncertainty for so many, both here and overseas, taking centre stage in thoughts, conversations and prayers. As individuals, families, communities and organisations, the crisis continues to have a significant impact on how we go about our daily business. We have all had to adapt to new ways of living.
In the same way, Christian Aid has also been thinking creatively how best to ensure it can continue standing together with the most vulnerable and marginalised people during this time of global crisis. This is particularly important as Christian Aid Week 2020 approaches.
In 2019 Christian Aid Week raised over £7.5m through a combination of church collections, house-to-house, delivery-only fundraising and events such as Big Brekkies. Not surprisingly, the Covid-19 situation has meant that much of this usual fundraising cannot go ahead for Christian Aid Week 2020 (10-16 May). Christian Aid values its volunteers enormously and wants to ensure people's safety when fundraising.
With this in mind, the charity is building a vibrant, virtual Christian Aid Week to help people in Britain and Ireland show love for neighbours near and far, as a global family, in these challenging times. Christian Aid has developed a suite of creative ideas, guides and resources, to inspire people to fundraise and connect with their community virtually, while respecting social distancing measures. You can find the resources on our website - caweek.org/virtualresources
The resources include guides to help people run their own virtual event or fundraiser, organise a virtual quiz evening, and even hold a virtual church service using a range of specially prepared worship resources.
Individuals will be able to sign up for unique events during Christian Aid Week itself from 10-16 May, such as a daily quiz and live stream worship events. Christian Aid will also be offering an ‘e-envelope', offering a digital way for people to share the Christian Aid Week story with family and friends, and ask for a donation.
In this way Christian Aid hopes that its dedicated supporters will be able to continue their support, prayer, engagement and fundraising. Donations can be made online www.caweek.org
Christian Aid Week programme manager Sophie Brightwell said: "Love never fails. Coronavirus impacts all of us. But love unites us all. Its during crises like Covid-19 that the vulnerabilities of those living in extreme poverty are even more evident. This Christian Aid Week we can fight against Coronavirus alongside our sisters and brothers living in poverty."
Christian Aid is inviting people to unite in prayer at this time: a collection of prayers for the current coronavirus situation are available online. These include: prayers of thanksgiving and intercession; a prayer for times of isolation; a prayer for medical workers everywhere; a prayer for the global pandemic; a prayer for the church.
Please keep an eye on caweek.org/virtualresources for up-to-the minute information and resources as they launch.
Christian Aid prayers are online: christianaid.org.uk/pray/churches/coronavirus-prayers
A message from Deborah Perreau:
I am Christian Aid's Church Engagement Fundraising Officer for Somerset & Dorset. I was writing to ask if there were any Deanery events happening that I could come to and introduce myself. Of course, circumstances have now changed significantly, and we face an unprecedented health crisis not only at home but also globally.
I'm sure you and your team are working extremely hard at the moment to provide pastoral and spiritual support to your communities, thank you so much for everything you're doing at such a difficult time for all of us. I wonder if you could help us enormously by sharing the attached newsletter article for churches, possibly online and in any newsletters or remote worship and community media you're still circulating - we're trying to get word out as broadly as we can that CA Week is still happening in 2020, but unlike any we've known yet with many digital and remote fundraising, prayer and action offerings.
As the pandemic spreads now into the Global South, we urgently need funds to secure the work rapidly being stepped up by CA colleagues across the world to support marginalised groups living in poverty through the COVID-19 Crisis. While many have been really doing amazing work supporting our friends and neighbours here in the UK, we really need to turn our minds to the global stage as the spread of the virus continues. Of course, people in less economically developed areas will sadly benefit from none of the safety nets we've seen put in place in the UK.
Would it be possible to share this around your churches in the Ilminster Deanery to encourage them to engage as much as they can, be it through giving, through taking action via our campaign for debt repayment relief for developing countries to assist them in fighting the pandemic, or through prayer?
Thanks so much for anything you can do to help. Please in turn let me know if there's anything I can do to support your work in the Deanery, perhaps by providing content and resources for use?
Rev'd Deborah Perreau