A vibrant, virtual, Christian Aid week

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This week (10 to 16 May) marks a Christian Aid Week with a difference.  In a space of just a few months, the coronavirus pandemic has caused a seismic shift in society.

The outbreak has affected all spheres of life. It has brought suffering and uncertainty for so many, both here and overseas, taking centre stage in thoughts, conversations and prayers.

Rose Jonathan at her home in Dili village in the Ikutha district of Kenya. Rose spends hours each day fetching water and is suffering with HIV infection for which she takes many medicines. Photo Tom Pilston

Rose Jonathan at her home in Dili village in the Ikutha district of Kenya. Rose spends hours each day fetching water and is suffering with HIV infection for which she takes many medicines. Photo Tom Pilston

As individuals, families, communities and organisations, the crisis continues to have a significant impact on how we go about our daily business. We have all had to adapt to new ways of living.

Many churches have already made bold steps, streaming services online and harnessing technology and social media to reach out to communities.

In the same way, Christian Aid has also been thinking creatively how best to ensure it can continue standing together with the most vulnerable and marginalised people during this time of global crisis. This is particularly important during Christian Aid Week.

Each year, Christian Aid Week brings together tens of thousands of committed volunteers across Britain and Ireland to raise funds millions in support of people living in poverty, injustice and inequality across the world.

Now, more so than ever, Christian Aid Week provides an important opportunity to celebrate and share the life-saving work that brings hope to people the world over.

In 2019 Christian Aid Week raised over £7.5m through a combination of church collections, house-to-house, delivery-only fundraising and events such as Big Brekkies. This year, many Christian Aid supporters will have already dedicated a significant amount of their time and energy planning these initiatives.

With this in mind, the charity has built a vibrant, virtual Christian Aid Week to help people in Britain and Ireland show love for neighbours near and far, as a global family, in these challenging times.

Christian Aid has developed a suite of creative new ideas, guides and resources, to inspire people to fundraise and connect with their community, creatively and virtually, while respecting social distancing measures.

The resources include guides to help people run their own virtual event or fundraiser, organise a virtual quiz evening, and even hold a virtual church service using a range of specially prepared worship resources.

Individuals can sign up for unique events such as a daily quiz and live stream worship. Christian Aid will is also offering an ‘e-envelope’, offering a digital way for people to share the Christian Aid Week story with family and friends, and ask for a donation.

Christian Aid hopes that its dedicated supporters will be able to continue their support, prayer, engagement and fundraising.

Christian Aid Week programme manager Sophie Brightwell said: “In recent weeks, we have been overwhelmed by the messages of solidarity we’ve received for our sisters and brothers overseas, and also by messages of support from our fundraising community, looking for guidance on how they can support us this Christian Aid Week.

“I very much hope that you feel empowered and supported to join us in celebration of Christian Aid Week this year, and that some of the virtual ideas on offer can strengthen individuals and communities as we pray for all those affected by this new virus.

“Love never fails. Coronavirus impacts all of us. But love unites us all. Its during crises like Covid-19 that the vulnerabilities of those living in extreme poverty are even more evident. This Christian Aid Week we can fight against Coronavirus alongside our sisters and brothers living in poverty.”

Christian Aid is inviting people to unite in prayer at this time: a collection of prayers for the current coronavirus situation are available online. These include: prayers of thanksgiving and intercession; a prayer for times of isolation; a prayer for medical workers everywhere; a prayer for the global pandemic; a prayer for the church.