Anglicans smash fund-raising targets for Middle East Christians

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By Clare Creegan
CHURCH of England parishioners have raised well over double their target in an ecumenical fund-raising project for suffering Christians in Iraq and Syria.
The Anglican Diocese of London surpassed their 2016 Lent appeal’s original target of £35,000, hitting the £90,000 mark thanks to a generous response by parishes across the capital.
The Bishop of London, The Rt Revd Dr Richard Chartres commended parishioners’ efforts to raise funds on behalf of Christian charities Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) and Open Doors, with proceeds going to persecuted Christians in war-torn Iraq and Syria.
Bishop Richard Chartres said: “The Lent Appeal this year has obviously touched a nerve of sympathy throughout the diocese.
“I am hugely grateful to all those who have together raised more than £90,000 to assist persecuted Christians in the Middle East.”
Both ACN and Open Doors have a long history of working to better the lives of Christians in Iraq and Syria.
In towns and cities racked by persecution, shellfire, bomb-blast and worsening poverty in the Middle East, ACN is working to distribute much needed aid to suffering families desperate for food, warmth, clean clothes, shelter and medicine.
In Syria alone, ACN is providing clothes, food and toiletries for 250 orphans from Homs and vital aid for up to 5,000 people in Aleppo.
The Diocese of London’s donation of £45,000 for ACN will mean that the charity is able to continue to support those worst-affected by the violence.
In a message to the diocese Neville Kyrke-Smith, National Director of Aid to the Church in Need (UK), said: “We are grateful to all of the churches and congregation members who have donated to your superb Lent Appeal this year.
“With your money we will be supporting destitute and traumatised Christian families in Syria and Iraq, driven from their homes by targeted violence and warfare.
“They rely on the Church for essentials – food, shelter, clothing – and our prayers.
“From my time and recent visits to the Middle East, as well as from constant updates from our project partners, I know how much this support means to them.
“Thank you on behalf of all the faithful who are trying to keep the hope of Christ alive in such a terrible situation.”
London’s Anglican churches have continued their fundraising efforts with a variety of initiatives from quizzes and raffles to a pilgrimage from Seville to Santiago.
The Reverend Prebendary Alan Moses, Vicar of All Saints Margaret Street and Chair of the House of Clergy in the Diocesan Synod, will walk one of the 16 routes across France and Spain to Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia, to raise money for the diocesan Lent Appeal.
His journey of 1,000 km on the Silver Way is expected to last about 40 days in total.
Patricia Hatton, ACN’s Head of Fundraising and Marketing, said: “We are deeply moved by the response of parishes across the Catholic and Anglican communions to our Lenten ‘Support a Refugee Family’ Appeal.
“Families in Iraq and Syria have endured immense suffering and lived through upheaval and targeted violence.
“They beg us: ‘Please pray for us. Please tell our stories. Please save us.’ These persecuted Christians need you – and all of us.
“We cannot turn away from them in their hour of need.”
Since March 2011 when the conflict began, ACN has provided £7.9 million in aid for Christians and others in the Syria and more than £11 million for projects in Iraq.
Of that figure, nearly 60 percent – £4.7 million – was provided in 2015 alone.
It costs in the region of £150 a month to support a family with essentials and medicine. To find out more and how you can help go to

Editor’s Notes

Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity – helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Fr Werenfried van Straaten, whom St John Paul II named “An outstanding Apostle of Charity”, the organisation is now at work in more than 140 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, Aid to the Church in Need’s Child’s Bible – God Speaks to his Children has been translated into 176 languages and more than 51 million copies have been distributed all over the world.

Aid to the Church in Need UK is a registered charity in England and Wales (1097984) and Scotland (SC040748). ACN’s UK office is in Sutton, Surrey and there is a Scottish office in Motherwell, near Glasgow.

For more information, contact John Newton, ACN Press Officer, 020 8661 5167 or Clare Creegan, Digital Media and Press Officer on 020 8661 5175.