Irish Presbyterian Church appeal raises over £300k for people in fragile countries

Congregations in the Irish Presbyterian Church have raised a phenomenal £337,147 for people in “fragile” countries left vulnerable by the effects of the ongoing Covid pandemic.

Saturday, 17th April 2021, 7:04 am
Updated Saturday, 17th April 2021, 9:42 am
Dr David Bruce

Launched last December, the church moderator’s special Christmas appeal, which replaced the annual world development fundraiser, brought a very generous response from Presbyterian congregations across Ireland.

That money has now been distributed between the Presbyterian Church’s relief and development partners, Christian Aid and Tearfund, who are already engaged on the ground in longer term sustainable development work amongst those most affected by Covid-19.

Money will also go to churches with which Irish Presbyterianism is directly linked for relief efforts in seven countries on three continents - South Sudan, Malawi, Indonesia, Nepal, Lebanon, Syria and Romania.

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Presbyterian Moderator the Rev Dr David Bruce thanked the 500-plus congregations for their “prayerful and sacrificial generosity of spirit” in some of the hardest of times.

Dr Bruce said: “When we launched the appeal before Christmas, I said that the pandemic had had a major impact on our island home in so many different ways, and this included our own congregations and our members. Its effect on the economies of the more fragile, low-income nations of the world, however, would be multiplied.”

The moderator added: “In the face of not being able to meet for long periods of time, and the unprecedented demands that the pandemic has placed on ordinary people who have lost loved ones, their jobs and livelihoods, the Irish Presbyterian family has shown a prayerful and sacrificial generosity of spirit.

“Along with others, in raising this significant sum of money they have demonstrated a deep compassion and practical concern for those in need beyond our shores, which is in and of itself, a powerful witness to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In terms of the allocation of appeal funding to PCI’s partner churches and organisations, in Malawi, for example, funding will be directed to the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian’s Livingstonia synod in its support for its three hospitals in Ekwendeni, Embangweni and Livingstonia.

In Lebanon, the national evangelical synod of Syria and Lebanon’s Compassionate Protestant Society will use funding to support two Covid-19 projects.

With the United Mission to Nepal (UMN), PCI’s partner in the Himalayan nation, the appeal will support UMN’s hospitals in Tansen and Okhaldhunga. In the early stages of the pandemic, non-Covid patients were fearful of attending hospitals and this had a severe impact on income required to pay day-to-day running costs. PCI funding has not only contributed to offsetting these day-to-day costs, but to equipping the hospitals to care more effectively for the growing numbers of Covid-related patients, including the purchase of PPE.

Dr Bruce said he looked forward to receiving reports of how the appeal money will be used by their relief and development partners to help and support some of the most vulnerable people on the planet.