Gloucestershire churchgoers and those in the wider community are being invited to help build ‘peace on earth’ this Christmas by the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester.
The Bishop is supporting Christian Aid’s Christmas fundraising appeal highlighting families affected by conflict across the world and is also urging families to build peace in their own homes. Launched this month, the charity’s ‘Be A Peacemaker’ appeal will help support its work with children and adults who are suffering from trauma, homelessness, poverty and other effects of war and violence.
Bishop Rachel took part in the Be a Peacemaker Pledge and says “I firmly believe that every person has their own unique story to tell.
“When we truly take time to listen to and engage with people’s stories, we learn more about how God loves and values each individual. Our eyes are opened to more of what God sees in them.
“When we listen more, we understand more, and we are able to act as mediators and peacemakers. I am sorry that I have not listened more. This Christmas, I will try to spend more time listening and reflecting on the stories of people fleeing poverty and violence in many places across the world and praying for a world where all can flourish.”
Last year supporters across Gloucestershire raised almost £30,000 at Christmas for Christian Aid.
This year churches across the diocese are holding special collections and doing carol singing and reflect on what peace means to them. Parishioners are being urged to follow Bishop Rachel’s lead this Christmas and build peace in their lives and in the global community by sharing a peacemaker pledge in support of this year’s campaign.
Christian Aid Regional Coordinator for Gloucestershire Noel Sharp said: “We are so delighted to have the support of Bishop Rachel, and groups across Gloucestershire who are seeking to extend peace this Christmas. Peace is at the heart of Christmas, but for too many people across the world it is a distant prospect.
“Today, one child in every six will wake up in a conflict zone around the world. And if things continue the way they are, by 2030 more than half of the world’s poorest people will live in countries affected by high levels of violence.
“This has devastating consequences for people’s development and well-being, children especially. It means people struggle to find food, a home, decent healthcare, education and an income. It means they can’t plan for the future.
“We want to see as many people as possible experience peace, and hope that people across the Diocese of Gloucester will be moved to be peacemakers at home and abroad this Advent and Christmas.”
A donation of £10 could pay for arts materials for drama and storytelling therapy sessions for child refugees in Lebanon and £100 could pay for 30 women and girls to learn about protecting themselves from violence and harm in South Sudan. To donate to the appeal visit: www.caid.org.uk/christmas-appeal