Calls to continue international support

Rev Steve Francis, Moderator of the Uniting Church WA, and Kerry Povey, Chair of the International Partnerships and Development Commission, have written to members of the church, encouraging them to support the church’s international partners as they deal with the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The letter reads:

“It is so encouraging to see Uniting Church congregations connect and support each other in new ways even though we can’t meet in person. Equally, it is heartening to know our Care Agencies are continuing to provide dedicated support and advocacy to those most in need in our community.

“As much as this pandemic has been a challenge for us to deal with here in Australia, our hearts also go out to our friends in our partner churches around the region. We are hearing worrying reports from our partner churches in countries like Indonesia and Timor Leste where they have limited capacity in their health systems to respond to this crisis.

“Our partners need assistance to make sure hygiene and sanitation can be improved, appropriate protective equipment can be purchased and the most vulnerable communities can be protected against COVID-19.

“We are appealing to you, our Uniting Church family, to help our sisters and brothers in other countries that lack the safety nets we have in Australia by providing a direct donation.

“The WA Synod has a number of close, direct partnerships that are based on long-term connections to WA congregations and guided by the Synod’s International Partnerships and Development Commission (formerly known as the UnitingWorld WA Commission). While some of the regular activities we support as a Synod have been suspended to protect against the spread of the virus (eg. Preschools in Sri Lanka and English classes in West Papua have closed temporarily), there are still ongoing costs as well as emerging COVID-19 needs that require emergency funding.

“We need your help to:

  • Ensure the programs we support as a Synod are able to survive through this period, are able to retain their staff, and continue basic operations.
  • Provide additional resources to meet the immediate needs of the COVID-19 crisis.

“The challenge we face is that because of the restrictions on social gatherings here in Australia we are unable to conduct our usual fundraising dinners and events.

“We recognise that not everyone will be in a position to assist financially but where possible we would encourage you to pick a project that your congregation, workplace or family can connect with.

“Your donation will be an invaluable reassurance to people like Gloria de Silva from the Methodist Church in Sri Lanka who manages ten teachers across five preschools in regional communities. Anxiety levels are high in the communities and access to essential supplies in remote areas are limited.

“Or it can go towards building simple hand-washing stations in remote villages in Timor Leste and buying soap and disinfectant. All of the partnerships listed below are doing their best to adapt to the crisis and support their communities.

“Separate to our direct Synod partnerships, the Assembly’s international development agency UnitingWorld, is also working with many of our UCA partner churches further afield to assist them in their response to this pandemic and are taking donations for things like emergency food supplies and crisis support for women.”

For more information about the Uniting Church WA’s international partnerships and the projects the church supports, email Geoff Bice at geoffrey.bice@wa.uca.org.au.

If you able to make a financial contribution, you can do so through the following methods:

  • Sri Lanka, donations can be made to:
    Uniting Church in Australia
    BSB: 036-001
    Account: 92-1834
    Reference: Sri Lanka Preschools
  • Timor Leste, donations can be made to:
    Uniting Church Investment Fund
    BSB: 036-001
    Account: 921789
    Reference: ETimor 709647
  • West Timor, donations can be made to:
    Community Solutions Reserve Account
    BSB: 036-304
    Account number: 358508
    Reference: West Timor
  • UnitingWorld
  • West Papua

Top image: Children in Kanagipuram, Northern Sri Lanka, learning about colours and numbers with fruit.

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