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Monday, 16 August 2010

Support for the Church of Pakistan's Flood Relief Programme

Photo credit: Vicki Francis / UKaid / Department for International Development

Churches and individuals in the diocese are responding to the needs of the people of Pakistan through donations to the many aid agencies who are engaged in the relief efforts. In the UK, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella organisation for 13 humanitarian aid agencies, including Oxfam, the Red Cross and Christian agencies such as Christian Aid and Tearfund, is leading the appeal and has a proven expertise in the delivery and provision of emergency aid. Donations can be made through the websites of Christian Aid, Tearfund or the DEC website itself.

Some enquiries have come from congregations in the diocese wanting to know if there is a way to channel financial support directly to Church partners, (rather than aid agencies), in Pakistan. My recommendation for channelling funds for direct church to church support is through USPG: Anglicans in World Mission. USPG is the major mission partner of the Church of Pakistan and has already been giving emergency grant support to the local Church. Staff of USPG are close touch with the bishops of the dioceses of Sialkot, Peshawar and Hyderabad which have been badly affected, and where people have lost family members, houses, animals and crops. USPG is collecting further funds as emergency support to local church teams who are responding to the humanitarian crisis. Church of Pakistan personnel are already working to distribute aid. In some cases diocesan teams have travelled by boat and army helicopter to reach flood victims.

The Church of Pakistan is one of the member Churches of the Anglican Communion. It was established in 1970 when Anglicans, Scottish Presbyterians (Church of Scotland), Methodists and Lutherans came together in union. It has 9 dioceses and over 400 parishes. After the Roman Catholic Church it is the largest Church in this country where about 97% of the population are Muslim. It is worth noting that the tiny Christian community is among the poorest of Pakistan's poor, already living in slum and underdeveloped areas.

Donations can be made to USPG directly through this link.

The Revd Canon Edgar Ruddock, Director of USPG’s International Relations Team, has written the following meditation for use it in private prayer or in church.

How long, O Lord, how long
Will you leave your people drowning
As the surging waters rage, and suck
from fragile lungs their final choking gasp?

You whose tears of compassion used to fall
As gentle rain! They now appear to spurt
In wild lament as mother earth
Cries out at her despoliation.

How long, O Lord, how long
Will you leave your people homeless
In the anguished aftermath of nature’s savage
Trail of wanton, meaningless destruction?

You who before time or matter came to be,
Brooded over the waters, and in gentleness
Called chaos into order: where are you now
As textured lives are washed away to tatters?

How long, O Lord, how long,
Before, beside still waters, you lead your people
Once again? But then within the echoing void
A whisper on the rippling watered wind:

“You are my body now – it is for you to do”.

Another shorter prayer:

Compassionate God, source of all comfort,
We pray for the people of Pakistan whose lives have devastated by rain and flood.
Bring them comfort, we pray.
Protect the vulnerable.
Strengthen the weak.
Keep at bay the ravages of disease.
Have mercy on all those working to rescue the stranded and to feed the hungry.
And may our response to their suffering be generous and bring you praise.
For we ask it in Jesus Name, Amen.

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