Founded in the early 1970s, Bishops’ Appeal is the Church of Ireland’s World Aid and Development Programme. It is the Church’s response to the many calls in the Bible to help the poor and oppressed. Its concerns fall into a number of categories:
• to educate the Church at home about the needs and concerns of people in the less developed world;
• to encourage Church members to examine the reasons for the problems facing the less fortunate in the world and to consider what we can do to change conditions;
• to reach out in God’s name to those who need our help;
• to raise the funds needed to allow Bishops’ Appeal to support development projects and alleviate the suffering caused by disasters, both natural and man–made.
Bishops’ Appeal does not engage directly in development work but channels funds through development agencies already in place in areas of need. These include Christian Aid, Tearfund, The Leprosy Mission, Church Missionary Society, USPG, Bóthar and others. It also supports Parish and Diocesan projects. The approach of working through partner agencies keeps overheads to the absolute minimum. As the agencies themselves work with local partners where the need is greatest this eliminates the risk of loss through corruption.
The Church of Ireland is a co–owner of Christian Aid. This brings Bishops’ Appeal and Christian Aid into a close and mutually supportive relationship. Bishops’ Appeal channels about 50% of its project and emergency funding through Christian Aid.
Bishops’ Appeal contributes to relief of suffering in time of emergencies whether natural or man–made. However, our main concern is to support ongoing development in the fields of sustainable agriculture, health, including HIV and AIDS, and education in many parts of the world. We aim to enable people to have more control over their own lives so that they are less dependent on others than they are today.
Bishops’ Appeal recognises that giving money to the developing world is not, by itself, an adequate response on the part of Christians to the gospel demand to follow the example of Jesus – to love others as ourselves. Indeed giving alone can sometimes serve to block us off from people because we feel that we have done our duty and need not concern ourselves any more about their problems.
Bishops’ Appeal encourages its supporters to inform themselves about the underlying causes of the poverty of the developing world. It calls on them to challenge the unfair financial, trading and other structures that keep people in poverty and to support campaigns that highlight these issues.
Visit our website at www.bishopsappeal.ireland.anglican.org for more information about our approach and activities.
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