Norfolk churches urged to back Christmas appeal
This year Christian Aid’s appeal aims to light the way for people fleeing violence this Christmas, focussing on refugees around the world.
Christmas should be a joyful time. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the light who came into the world, many of us will seek to fill our homes and churches with light and laughter, family and friends. But for more than 65 million people who are fleeing from conflict and crises, a joyful home is a distant memory. Forced out by the darkness of violence and fear, they're searching for safety and refuge.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), joyful Christmases at home are a distant memory for thousands of women, men and children who have had their lives brutally uprooted as a result of violence and conflict.
In his 16 years as a priest in the DRC, Celestin has witnessed more darkness than most. He’s seen his own bishop killed by armed groups, and nine other priests slain in front of him.
Celestin had to flee – but now his ministry brings the light of Christ to others who’ve been forced to escape from horrific violence. He is now a priest in a relatively safe community – so it's become a sanctuary to many distressed survivors of violence. Local host families show extraordinary generosity and kindness to newcomers, but their few resources are often already stretched.
Julian Bryant, Norfolk Coordinator is inviting churches to take part in lighting the way through prayer and action as part of the Christian Aid Christmas Appeal.
‘There are many people in our world who need a safe place to call home. This Christmas I am inviting people to remember those people as they light their Advent candles and more – to pray, to give, to make a difference and even to write a Christmas card to the prime Minister. It would be wonderful if people were able to remember others in need at advent and of course carol services, Christmas services, at candle lit vigils and by giving. There is hope beyond the darkness of violence. There is a way that can be lit.’
Different resources are available including written prayers, ‘colouring in’ candles, candle light liturgy, nativity sketches and much more.
To find out how you can be involved email Julian firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01603 620051.
To order resources online: http://www.christianaid.org.uk/christmas-appeal
Pictured above: A young girl carrying wood and her baby sibling on her back, in Luhonga, outside of Goma, North Kivu
Photo credit: Christian Aid / Amy Sheppey