In the CEN of June 5, EFAC General Secretary Bishop Henry Scriven launched an appeal, supported by CEN, to assist three dioceses in Africa and India struggling to support their communities severely affected by the Coronavirus lockdown.
The appeal for £10,000 was surpassed by almost £2000 within three weeks. Funds, administered and distributed by Anglican Mainstream, reached their destinations safely within ten days.
Bishop Rateloson Gilbert of the Diocese of Fianarantosa in Madagascar wrote to convey thanks for “ your compassion and kindness” to “ help our vulnerable people during this confinement. It helps us to share with our people and to encourage them in spite of the difficult period.” He has sent photographs of the distribution of food packages.
From the diocese of Mbale Uganda, Dr Hannah Gidudu, the wife of Bishop Gidudu, reports that from March 18th 2020, the Ugandan Government announced the total lockdown of all public gatherings including places of worship due to the COVID19 Pandemic. People were asked to stay home to avoid spreading the corona virus. Many Christians of Mbale diocese including the Church workers who were dependent on weekly tithes and offertories were hit hard since they could no longer congregate to be able to receive the support from their respective congregations.
“Many of our people were unprepared to cope with these circumstances leading to the appeal for EFAC support in order to stand with the Church workers plus a few neediest Christians. While the needs on ground were enormous, the diocesan leadership is very thankful to EFAC family in the UK for responding very timely with the funding of 3500 Sterling Pounds. With these funds, the Diocesan leadership chose to support a total of 1,508 hunger stricken Christians (745 women including widows and 763 men) in 73 parishes in ten archdeaconries with at least 5Kgs of corn flour to address the immediate need for food. On behalf of the Christians of Mbale diocese and my own behalf we convey our innermost appreciation to the EFAC family for truly loving the Christian community of Mbale and responding to their call of saving one person and one community at a time! We are very thankful for the brotherly kind gesture demonstrated to them by responding with food as one way of restoring their hopes in God the father, provider and sustainer of human life.”
Mrs Yekobedi Nakhosi (in her late 80s) of Tooma Butta parish, Bubulo Archdeaconry, could not hide her overwhelming joy and gratitude after their hopes were shattered by the tragic Pandemic lockdown. “I stand in disbelief when I see this Good Samaritan spirit! After losing my husband the late Rev. Canon Robert Nakhosi, I knew that was the end of me and seeing this food from my bishop and the diocese of Mbale I am more than thrilled; I now know that God cares for his people regardless of their circumstances.” She continued, "you seem to have known our immediate needs as widows and widowers; It is cold and hunger easily bites us and now with the compulsory lockdown at my age where could I look for help except to wait for my day of death to come by.
May God bless the efforts of my bishop of Mbale diocese and the staff of EFAC."
Yekoyasi Matanda the lay reader of Bunyanga Sub parish, Bulobi Parish, Bulucheke archdeaconry said “On behalf of the needy Christians, Church workers and myself we appreciate the leadership of Mbale diocese for standing with us in circumstances such as this; this food is not going to help me alone but we shall share with other needy Christians; I now know that we are loved as workers and Christians of the Anglican Church in this diocese,”
Elsewhere, the retired Rev. Wilson Wodero said, “may God reward the efforts of those who sent us this food, may God reward their efforts not forgetting the Diocesan leadership under the guidance and leadership of our Lord Bishop! It means that the Bishop and other workers of the diocese value us as their own for which we are most grateful.”
Funds were also sent to the Diocese of Amritsar to enable a group of women to start a small business to earn their livelihood.
Extra income also enabled a prompt response to a request from Bishop Festus Yeboah Asuamah of the Diocese of Sunyani in Ghana to provide hygiene masks and gloves, and food relief to widows and orphans and the physically incapacitated.
Bishop Henry Scriven said this week: “We have been delighted to make a difference to these dioceses in this very difficult situation and are grateful to those who generously donated.”
The live broadcast by Anglican International Development on South Sudan Day on July 9th,(https://anglicaninternationaldevelopment.org/) reported in CEN of July 3rd, for microfinance, health and sanitation training and church strengthening has raised at least £26,000 so far towards its goal of £75,000.
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