Homeless people and victims of conflict are the focus of a major appeal to mark next year’s centenary of the Church In Wales.
Two charities will benefit from the Centenary Appeal which aims to raise at least £100,000 over the next five years. The money will go to two specific projects – one at home, run by Housing Justice Cymru, to help homeless people and the other supporting peace-building in South Sudan through Christian Aid.
The appeal will be launched at the Church’s Governing Body meeting next week, ahead of the 2020 anniversary year. The Archbishop of Wales, John Davies, is calling on people to be as generous as they were 100 years ago when another significant appeal was launched. He says, “Back in 1920 we launched an appeal to establish the Church In Wales and parishioners from every church in the country gave so generously that the Church has been sustained for 100 years. I can think of no better way to celebrate our birthday than by launching another major appeal to raise money – not for ourselves but for those in need, both at home and overseas. I am confident that people will respond with similar generosity and enthusiasm. I also ask you to pray for these projects: for those who run them, for the people they will benefit, and for the energy and commitment to use them to build up God’s Kingdom of justice and peace, solidarity and compassion.”
It will be far easier for people to donate to the Centenary Appeal than it was 100-years-ago, however. For the first time, the Church is setting up an Instagiv site so that people can donate a fixed amount via text on the phone, as well as giving through traditional means.
Canon Carol Wardman, Bishops’ Adviser for Church and Society, says, “We are pledging to raise £100,000 but if everyone in our churches gave just a few pounds we would quickly surpass that amount. However, the aim is not just about raising money – it is also about deepening our understanding and solidarity with people experiencing hardship and poverty, and to develop our relationship with organisations helping them.”
All the money collected will be distributed equally between Christian Aid and Housing Justice Cymru. The charities will give regular reports and feedback about the progress of the projects to show how the money is making a difference to people’s lives.
The Christian Aid project supports the work of the Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Committee of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan – a country riven by violence and one of the poorest in the world.
Mari McNeill, head of Christian Aid Wales, says, “The Church in Wales has been a key supporter of Christian Aid throughout our 70 years of existence. We’re delighted to see this latest commitment of the Church to partner with us to work for dignity, equality and justice for people living the reality of extreme poverty in South Sudan where conflict is exacerbating poverty and the humanitarian crisis. The funds raised will go towards supporting those involved in essential peace-building activities in South Sudan such as trauma healing, advocacy, workshops and peace prayer vigils and training for community leaders. Through the generosity of church members, the Church in Wales will be helping communities to respond to real challenges of building peace with courage and hope.”
Housing Justice Cymru
The Housing Justice Cymru project will fund church-led night shelters for homeless people across Wales. It will also deliver training to clergy and church members, creating ‘Housing Champions’ in each diocese who can offer practical support and an informed response to homelessness.
Sharon Lee, director of Housing Justice Cymru, says, “As a Christian charity, it is an honour to work with the Church in Wales across our nation. This appeal will make a huge difference and will change lives. It means we will be able to support churches in providing hospitality and compassion to people who would otherwise be sleeping on our streets during the winter. It will also help us equip and support the many members of the Church in Wales who want to help those in their community.”
The Centenary Appeal will be launched at the Governing Body meeting on September 11 at Swansea University’s Bay campus. The Instagiv site will go live at the meeting. Donations can also be made by cheque made payable to the RBCIW, marked for the Centenary Appeal.
To donate £5 please text CENTENARY to 70660