An Appeal from the Bishops in the Diocese of Chichester
All three bishops in the diocese are appealing to every parish and school to consider taking a retiring collection at Carol services in Advent-tide in aid of our Companion dioceses in West Africa, and ask that special prayers should be said throughout the Diocese.
We must all be aware of the situation in West Africa at the moment. The Ebola outbreak is claiming lives, eroding economies and sowing fear throughout the region. As we prepare for Christmas with its hallmarks of family gathering, celebration meals, presents, and reflection on the song of the angels: "peace, among people of goodwill" we ask that special prayers should be said throughout the Diocese.
Communications with our Companion dioceses offer us glimpses of the desperate plight of ordinary people as they try to cope with the death of loved ones, enforced periods of quarantine, sky-rocketing food prices, limited access to protective clothing and difficulty in obtaining medical treatment for other diseases like malaria as the movement of people is restricted.
In the midst of such suffering and anxiety our partner dioceses, the Anglican Churches in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, are engaged in visiting and taking food and medicines to families and individuals in quarantine, leading workshops teaching people about Ebola and offering support to families who have lost loved ones.
Archbishop Jonathan Hart writes, â€œ... Ebola is worse in Liberia. Our people have taken this deadly disease lightly and refused to accept the advice from the health authorities. The awareness programs have been slow and many of us who tried to do that ran out of funds. We certainly need to have people in every community involved in awareness programmes informing our people of the seriousness of the disease. The simple fact is that we need to live in clean communities and encourage our people to do so.We will certainly appreciate some funding for this programme. Maybe Chichester could assist us do more...â€
Mrs. Mrs. Katumu Fornnie, of the Diocese of Boâ€™s Mothersâ€™ Union writes, â€œThe whole of Pujehun district has been quarantined due to the death of an ambulance driver which led to the banning of all (religious services) to avoid congregational gathering. The MU has seen the needs for emergency support to the community and we have purchased and distributed food and non-food items to widows, single headed families, quarantined and survival families.â€
Bishop Jacques Boston of Guinea has written, â€œThe diocese is working nationally alongside other institutions to sensitise people to the situation, to distribute protection kits, and to equip our church clinics with materials to meet the need of the population.â€
We would be grateful if every parish and school in the diocese would consider taking a retiring collection at its Carol service this Advent-tide in aid of our Companion dioceses in West Africa.
Cheques payable to â€œChichester DBFâ€ may be sent c/o Diocesan Church House.
Prayer composed by Us (formerly USPG)
God of healing,
whose Son healed those who were brought to him.
Hear our prayer for the peoples of West Africa
suffering from the Ebola outbreak.
Inspire and enable your church
to be a source of healing, comfort and hope to those affected,
and an agent for the education
and equipping of communities
to stop the spread of this disease.
For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.