Church shows support to global partners during pandemic

The Church of Scotland has sent financial support to partner Churches across the globe to help them respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nurse tutors in Nepal making protective visors
Nursing tutors at Okhaldunga hospital in Nepal making protective visors.

A total of £38,000 has been sent to eight churches that have long-standing relationships with the Church of Scotland. This has been possible through the generosity of previous generations leaving money to support the world church and which is now being called upon.

Very Rev Dr Susan Brown, Convener of the Faith Impact Forum, said:

"As a Church, we have always acknowledged the importance of helping the most vulnerable in every part of the world.

"Through trusted partner churches and organisations who have shared their needs with us, we have been able to respond to the very real needs of some—at least. Christian faith compels us to take care of those immediately around us, but also to reach out to the wider world."

Churches run clinics and hospitals

Churches have found themselves at the forefront of their country's response to the onslaught of the Covid-19 virus, requiring them to reconfigure hospitals, purchase required PPE, educate staff, and reach out with health messages to their communities.

They include the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) in Malawi, the United Mission to Nepal, the United Church of Zambia, and the Church of Pakistan, all of which run hospitals and clinics.

Additionally, the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) has set up a scheme within their congregations to ‘adopt a needy family'. This financial support will help the PCEA feed those in a desperate situation, facing starvation as the regular infrastructure for food distribution has been disrupted.

Poorest at risk of starvation

The Church of Bangladesh's Shalom Project is distributing food to the poorest in their community, people who live on daily wages and are at present not able to support their families. These communities see lockdown starvation as worse than contracting Coronavirus.

"We encourage congregations to continue to pray for the Church throughout the world and encourage, in particular, those congregations with twinnings to maintain contact and relationships at this time," added Dr Brown.

"Such action, in solidarity with others worldwide, matters and will be remembered in the future.

"Hearing the stories of the even greater needs others face, with far fewer resources to respond, also offers a different perspective on our own situation and reminds us of our call to serve, in Christ's name, the very least in our world – wherever they are."

Even water comes at a cost

The support includes the Nile Theological College in South Sudan, a country facing the effects of recent civil war, a plague of locusts and now also Covid-19.

The Church of Scotland support will help to pay salaries of those who continue to work. Without our support they would not be able to feed their families or pay for water, essential for handwashing as well as drinking, which gets delivered each day by donkey drawn water bowsers.

We have also been able to send recent donations from the ‘A Place at the Table' Project to the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon to help with food assistance for Syrian refugees.