The four bishops in the Diocese of Lichfield have issued an emergency appeal for prayers and money in response to the disaster in Myanmar (Burma). They say:
Like us, you are no doubt watching the pictures from Myanmar (Burma) with a feeling of helplessness, and asking 'What can I do to help?' It is difficult to know what to do when faced with a disaster on this magnitude: tens of thousands dead, 40,000 people missing and one million people homeless.
But there are two things we can do which will make a big difference. We can pray and we can give. Some people have already given through the Disasters Emergency Committee. However, we wish to commend a way of responding further, following the lead of our companion diocese of West Malaysia, which has close ties with the Anglican Church of Myanmar.
The Anglican dioceses in Burma are already engaged in long-term agricultural, educational and sustainable development initiatives. Local churches in the country are already deeply involved in the current relief efforts, but they are already looking to the rebuilding and replanting work that will be essential in the coming weeks and months.
We are now making an emergency appeal for funds to assist the long-term rebuilding work that will be needed in Burma.
Every penny received from this appeal will be used to aid the people of Burma, primarily through the Anglican Church in Myanmar working with the mission agency USPG: Anglicans in World Mission.
We invite all churches:
to hold separate collections, in addition to their usual collections, on Sunday 11th or Sunday 18th May – or on another suitable occasion – and to encourage congregations to respond generously and positively, using Gift Aid envelopes where they can
to give details of this appeal on their websites, in parish magazines and on pew-sheets pointing people to the website http://www.lichfield.anglican.org/emergency
In addition, we would invite:
all church councils to consider making a special one-off gift, either as part of or in addition to their usual charitable donations
all youth groups to consider staging special fundraising events, such as car washes, talent auctions, etc, to raise funds to help in this desperate situation.
Our partners in West Malaysia have already sent an immediate cash gift to the Church in Burma, and Bishop Ng Moon Hing has appealed to his congregations for funds and also for two or three volunteers to go to Burma and report back on what more needs to be done.
Of course, in addition to financial gifts, we also need to pray for the victims of the disaster – those who are bereaved, those who are injured, the homeless, the suffering; we need to pray for the leaders of Burma and for the international community – including the United Nations – that a way will be found for the international community to play a full part in the relief efforts; we need to pray for the Christian community of Burma, for strength and wisdom as they respond to the disaster around them; and we need to pray for international aid agencies, including British organisations such as the Disasters Emergency Committee, and its members, which include Christian Aid and Tearfund, as they consider how best to bring relief from the suffering.
Please respond positively to this disaster and demonstrate the love of God in a practical way to desperate people.
+Jonathan Gledhill, Bishop of Lichfield
+Alan Smith, Bishop of Shrewsbury
+Gordon Mursell, Bishop of Stafford
+Clive Gregory, Bishop of Wolverhampton
You can support the Bishop of Lichfield's Emergency Appeal by sending a cheque, payable to "Bishop of Lichfield's Emergency Appeal" to Saint Mary's House, The Close, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 7LD, or through Internet Banking (details below). If you are a tax-payer please Gift-Aid your donation using the pledge form below.