Photo Credit: Luis Astudillo C. / Andes (Flickr CC http://bit.ly/1ryPA8o)
From the Diocese of Dublin and Glendalough
Dublin and Glendalough has unveiled a new initiative to respond to the crisis in Gaza.
The Advent appeal will raise funds for the Al–Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City. It is being run by the Diocesan Council for Mission in partnership with Bishops’ Appeal, Us and Friends of Sabeel.
Al–Ahli Arab Hospital was built in 1882 by CMS and is owned and controlled by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. It provides services to all patients regardless of their religion, gender, social class or political affiliation. Following the conflict during the summer, areas of the hospital are no longer safe for patients and there is an urgent need for necessary maintenance.
Announcing the initiative, the Revd Ken Rue (Wickow and Killiskey) stressed that the appeal is non political. He said: “I am sure we were all appalled by the rockets fired into Israel and by the devastating bombing and killing of innocent lives in Gaza. What should we do in practical terms? The Council, with the agreement and oversight of the Archbishop, decided to invite parties who are knowledgeable concerning the realities on the ground, to join with it to make short and medium–term plans.”
Commending the initiative, Archbishop Michael Jackson said that Christians worldwide were acutely conscious that the theatre of war was right in the crucible of religion and of Christianity. “These people need our prayers, our friendship and our practical help,” he added. “This is a unique partnership opportunity. I hope and pray that the people of these United Dioceses will take this opportunity for meaningful connection and fruitful mission.”
Canon David Moynhan (Kilternan and member of Friends of Sabeel in Ireland) pointed out that that there were only 64 days until Christmas, in preparation for which people would spend significant amounts of money. “This Christmas I hope that we can all take on board the Archbishop and Council for Mission’s plan. We’ve all seen the desperate plight of the ordinary people of Gaza … and even as we remember them in our prayers, the Archbishop and Council for Mission ask us to set apart part of our Christmas spending for these people,” he stated. “This is a challenge and in doing so may we give an account of our faith and not be found wanting.”
Geoffrey McMaster (Celbridge and Straffan with Newcastle–Lyons and Diocesan Representative for Bishop’s Appeal) pointed out that as Christmas approaches our eyes were concentrated on the Holy Land. He said that the challenge was to raise €30,000 by Christmas, which, broken down, was not much more than individuals pay for Sunday newspapers. This was an opportunity to show we care for our neighbour and for the people of the dioceses to make a difference, he added.
Supporting the initiative, Olive Good (Diocesan Councils) said: “As you go about your Christmas shopping, how about putting aside money that you would spend on a present and setting a space at your Christmas table for an imaginary Gaza guest – what a powerful impact we could have on people’s lives there.”
Resources are available to help with fundraising from Bishops’ Appeal and the United Society. Donations can be made via Bishops’ Appeal by marking your envelopes ‘Gaza’ or by electronic transfer to IBAN: IE31 BOFI 9000 1749 8394 99 (reference Gaza).
A PDF of the Gaza Advent Appeal leaflet can be downloaded by clicking here.