Standing Firm Appeal: Rebuilding lives in Syria
The Standing Firm Appeal is raising money to help our partner church in Syria provide housing for those affected by the earthquake in February.
In the early hours of 6 February, a huge earthquake struck Syria and Turkey. Many lost their lives or were trapped in the rubble. Survivors, many of whom are already traumatized from years of civil war, were separated from loved ones and left with nowhere to go in the middle of winter.
Our partner church, the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL) opened their doors and offered shelter, food and clothes to those in need, showing love in action in those crucial early hours and days before charities, NGO's and governments arrived to help.
As the weeks pass, the needs of the people remain. Many continue to seek shelter in refuges such as churches, and there is a pressing need to find them more secure housing until government rebuilding programmes can get underway. Due to the extent of the damage, this is likely to take a long time.
Even if the mountains are shaken and stones fall around, my love for you remains strong.
The Standing Firm Appeal will help NESSL secure appropriate housing to rent for families who are sleeping in church halls and schools. We are asking congregations to support this appeal by raising funds in any way they choose. It could be a retiring collection or something that shows solidarity with those in Syria, such as a soup and bread lunch or a sleepover in the church hall.
Every £70 raised will allow NESSL to pay one month's rent for a family in Syria.
Tell us what you're doing to fundraise
Financial information for presbyteries and congregations
If your congregation is planning to support the appeal, the following information will help explain the process.
Congregations can collect donations in the usual ways, including:
- By direct transfer from individuals to your congregation's bank account, with members/supporters using the reference "Syria"
- By cheque or cash in an envelope marked "Syria" to enable these donations to be properly allocated within the congregation and not confused with general offering income.
In order to maximise donations, we encourage congregations to claim the related Gift Aid and to transfer that additional income along with the donation. This will require donors to have completed a Gift Aid declaration and to meet the requirements of the scheme. These donations will, therefore, require to be linked to a named donor.
Any donors who do not already have an existing Gift Aid declaration in place may complete the one-off donation form if eligible under the rules of the scheme. In such cases, the "Name of Charity" section should show the congregation's name followed by "Syria Appeal".
We know that when one part of Christ's body is suffering, we are all suffering, and we need to reach out and help our fellow sisters and brothers at this time.
Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly
Individual cash donations of £30 or less can be claimed through the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, in line with the usual GASDS regulations. Please note that HMRC allows Gift Aid to be claimed by your congregation on these donations provided it is then passed on to the intended charity (in this case, NESSL). These donations should be put through your books and included in the "collections for third parties" note in the congregation's annual accounts.
When all of your congregation's donations have been collected, you should send one bank transfer to the Church of Scotland's Royal Bank of Scotland account. A further transfer can be made when the Gift Aid monies are reclaimed from HMRC.
The Church of Scotland Bank Details:
- Bank Name: Royal Bank of Scotland
- Account Name: Church of Scotland
- Account No: 00134859
- Sort Code: 83 06 08
- IBAN: GB35RBOS83060800134859
- BIC: RBOSGB2L
Reference: Syria Appeal – followed by the name of your congregation
The finance staff of the national offices will transfer all monies received to NESSL (National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon) for this special appeal.
If you have any further questions on transferring the donations to the Church of Scotland, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.