Zion Calendar

Monday, 23 December 2013

United Church of Canada Syrian & Philippines Appeal Updates

December 20, 2013

Dear colleagues in ministry,

As we draw closer to Christmas and the birth of the Christ child, let us be mindful of the people of Syria and the Philippines, especially children, who continue to endure the severest of hardships. More than two million Syrians have been displaced by a brutal civil war with no end in sight. Some 14 million Filipinos are still reeling from the devastation caused by the worst typhoon to have struck their country in recorded history. The United Church of Canada has issued church-wide appeals in response to both crises, and both appeals will remain active into the New Year. Following are brief updates on those appeals.

Syria: United Church members have generously donated more than $141,000 to the church's Syria Refugee Appeal.

The funds have been used by United Church partner, the Middle East Council of Churches, and ACT Alliance in support of the 12 million Syrians affected by the war, including the 2.2 million who are refugees and currently experiencing harsh winter conditions with only tents for shelter. More than 1.1 million are children. The United Church also has sent a total of $60,000 to ACT from the Emergency Response Fund. The Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) has provided another $5.8 million worth of food aid to which the United Church has contributed funds. Also, we are working with the federal government to help find homes in Canada for Syrian refugees.

Your donations to the Syria Refugee Appeal have purchased much needed food, clean water, medicine, clothes, blankets, education programs for child refugees, and psychosocial counselling for refugees in distress. But much more is needed. This week, for example, the United Nations World Food Programme appealed to the international community for $6.5 billion in aid for the war-affected Syrians!

The United Church's Syria Refugee Appeal  - http://www.united-church.ca/syria  -  remains open into the New Year.

Philippines: More than $1.1 million has been donated to the United Church's Typhoon Haiyan Appeal - a testament to the compassion of faithful United Church members.

To date, $585,000 has been sent to ACT for programming in the Philippines. United Church partners, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), have each received $60,000. The funds have been used to purchase materials for temporary shelter, food, clean water, medicines, and psychosocial counseling. Additional funds will be sent to the NCCP, UCCP and ACT in the New Year for much needed rehabilitation and reconstruction work.

The United Church also has received a grant of $55,000 from the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation. Augmented by some $45,000 from the United Church and other Canadian churches, it will be given to the NCCP for the purchase of seeds to help restore household food and agricultural production which was destroyed by tidal surges caused by the typhoon.

The United Church's Typhoon Haiyan Appeal - http://www.united-church.ca/haiyan  - remains open into the New Year. 

Once again, thank you for your tremendous outpouring of generosity in support of the people of Syria and the Philippines as well the United Church partners that are working tirelessly, throughout the holiday season, to assist them. As we celebrate the birth of the infant Jesus this year, let us keep them in our heartfelt thoughts and prayers. 

Yours in Christ,
Gary Kenny
Emergency Response Coordinator
The United Church of Canada