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.
Church members have generously donated more than $141,000 to the church's Syria
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!
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
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
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,
Emergency Response Coordinator
United Church of Canada