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Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Bishop's Lent Appeal 2014 - for Afghan Women and Girls


Below is the letter which I sent out to the congregations of the diocese this week, to launch the Bishop's Lent Appeal for 2014. It is an exciting project, and we are grateful for the partnership with Christian Aid who have negotiated 3:1 matching funds from the EU.

Click on the page tab entitled "Bishop's Lent Appeal" for more information.
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On Ash Wednesday, 5 March, we begin the 40 day journey of Lent when Christians, through the disciplines of prayer, fasting and self-denial, strengthen our relationship with God. We will seek to repent of the ways that mar God’s image in us, and keep us from his purposes for our lives. But we will also hear the Prophet Isaiah’s voice, “Is this not the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58.6). Our repentance is shown in action to address human need, and to set free our sisters and brothers from the slavery of injustice and oppression.
This year the Bishop’s Lent Appeal is in partnership with Christian Aid, to support the education and empowerment of over 1000 women in Afghanistan. Afghan women and girls, already at a disadvantage in a country devastated by years of conflict, have also been excluded from education and participation in community life under the oppressive rule of the Taliban. This project will help to set women free, through providing literacy and education, training in their rights, and providing funds in communities for small grassroots projects to benefit marginalised women and youth. The empowering of women in this ancient land is key to building the future of this country, which actually borders with our own Diocese in Europe. 
Christian Aid has given over this project uniquely to us in this Diocese, and has secured 3:1 matching funding from the EU. So our own gifts will be partnered with European international development money to provide substantial support to this work. I would like to challenge the faithful of our congregations to raise at least £15,000, which with EU matching funding will mean that a total of £60,000 will benefit this important project.
More information is in the accompanying flyer, on the diocesan website and available from Christian Aid itself (christianaid.org.uk/partnerships).
Please give generously to this appeal, and help to transform the lives of Afghan women and girls and build a generation of hope.
With my prayers for a blessed Lent, Holy Week and Easter
+ David


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