EFAC appeals for assistance for Anglicans helping those deeply affected by lockdown.

Jun 4, 2020 by

By Chris Sugden, CEN:

On Wednesday May 27, EFAC General Secretary, Bishop Henry Scriven alerted the Global EFAC network by email to the pressures faced in most African countries: “Daily labourers cannot get to work in the fields to harvest the food needed, so are not paid and have no food.” Needs include: “food relief especially for those on daily wages who have no income; pastors’ salaries for those dependent on weekly tithes, since churches cannot meet; hygiene materials e.g. thousands of masks to protect health workers and others exposed to the virus.”


Bishop Rateloson Gilbert in Madagascar responded that from March 20th a curfew was imposed, churches were closed and church members encouraged to meet as families for worship at home. Schools, colleges and some enterprises shut and transport stopped. Everyone has to stay home.

Those dependent on day to day income, from work or selling, do not have enough to sustain the essential supplies to enable them to quarantine for a month at home.  St Mark’s Cathedral is supporting with food and medicines unemployed women who have no mothers, especially those pregnant and with infants to support.

Bishop Gilbert is asking for £5000 to provide 150 packages of rice, oil and sugar, hygiene materials and medicines to support people without day-to-day income and the women at the Cathedral.

Amritsar, Church of North India

In Amritsar, in north-west India, which Archbishop Welby visited in September 2019, Bishop Samantaroy constituted a COVID-19 Relief Operation after lockdown was imposed with four hour’s notice on March 24.

While the Government assured supply of food to everyone, many received nothing.  The diocesan team distributed dry food material to 1200 families needing aid. In some rural villages Government support is limited to those linked with local leaders or a particular political party. Widows, the elderly and destitute families have found themselves excluded.

At Diocesan headquarters lunch was cooked for 500 people and distributed to daily-wage workers and homeless people.

Since all travel was cancelled the Diocese made emergency shelter and food available to twenty-six people stranded from eastern and north-eastern India, Egypt, Iran, and Italy.

To support those workers whose income depends on work in the wheat harvest the Diocese has distributed masks and food packets. But work is still scarce for those involved in sand mining, construction, house-painting and plumbing.

Women in seven self-help groups are producing masks for distribution which also provides them with some income.  The Diocese is exploring ways to mitigate the long-term impact of the lockdown by helping these women start small entrepreneurship ventures to earn their livelihood.  The budget for one group to start up is £2120.

Mbale, Uganda

In Uganda, Bishop Patrick Gidudu of the Diocese of Mbale in Eastern Uganda is a graduate of OakHill Theological College where he was an EFAC bursar from 1988-91. Mbale diocese has 288,106 Christians in 67 parishes, or one third of those attending Church of England churches in the whole of England.  The church ministers depend entirely on weekly tithes and offertories, but under the lockdown, the churches are closed. In addition lay Christians could not engage in productive work to support their pastors. The government is providing food for the selected few but does not have enough to provide for the 43 million people and lacks an adequate distribution network. The diocese is seeking to support these ministers and the most vulnerable Christians struggling to live from hand to mouth with 5 kgs of maize flour. They have identified 3000 vulnerable households across the diocese whom they plan to support with rice, maize and beans. They are seeking at this point £3500 to provide 5kg of maize to 1610 of these households involving 450 Lay readers, 160 active and retired priests, 300 elderly who are above 70 years of age, 160 COVID affected households, 204 Child mothers, 114 Single mothers, and 222 Chronically ill such as HIV positive and Diabetic patients spread across the diocese.

The Church of England Newspaper is happy to support this appeal by the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion which is a network of Evangelical Anglican leaders around the world founded over fifty years ago by John Stott. The English branch is the Church of England Evangelical Council. EFAC is being assisted by Anglican Mainstream in the collection an administration of funds. Make a donation here.

See also:

Anglican Communion: Anxious Timesby Charles Raven, GAFCON: What are we learning about the Anglican Communion under the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic? Africa is likely to be the region that ends up suffering most. Although the death toll, at the time of writing, is much lower than that in the West, the impact on the region’s economy and food security will put growing millions at risk even if the disease itself is contained, and in East Africa the problem is being compounded by devastating and recurrent locust plagues.

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