The Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Rev Justin Welby has launched a COVID-19 crisis appeal named “Together in Unity” to enable Anglican churches to support one another as they respond to the global coronavirus pandemic in their churches and communities.
In a pastoral message shared by online video, the Archbishop addressed the bishops and spouses of the worldwide Anglican Communion on the need to show solidarity with one another as churches face the impact of COVID-19.
The Archbishop shared his message to coincide with the original timing of the fifteenth Lambeth Conference – the decennial meeting for Anglican bishops and spouses usually hosted in Canterbury, but now rescheduled to mid 2022.
Archbishop Justin’s message builds on his call to the communion at the time of the Lambeth postponement, when he encouraged the Anglican Communion to continue “to walk together and be good news in the world”.
The “Together in Unity” appeal (organised by the Anglican Communion Fund) will raise funding to support relief for communities in areas of the Communion hardest hit by COVID-19.
Around the Anglican Communion, churches and dioceses are providing support services in their communities to tackle COVID outbreaks. This support becomes even more vital in those countries where the state health infrastructure and support measures are under severe strain.
The "Together in Unity" fund will work to provide income support, facilities for basic hygiene, equipment to slow the spread of the virus and food security – including for clergy. It will be one of many important COVID-19 appeals that are happening across the Anglican Communion at this time.
In his message, Archbishop Justin acknowledged that every Province has been affected by COVID-19 in different ways – and recognised that some communities and dioceses have been harder hit.
“In our Communion, there is not one province, diocese or parish that is untouched by the pandemic. The Body of Christ is hurting. We know that some parts of the body are more hurt than others. And they need our help.”
The Anglican Communion Fund has already allocated over £180k to support churches in areas of need across the Communion as part of a special COVID-specific grant cycle.
In Maridi, South Sudan, over two hundred pastors and lay readers received food relief, church leaders were trained in virus prevention, and bicycles and hand microphones were provided for five pastors to carry virus prevention messages into remote areas.
In Bangladesh, hundreds of vulnerable families, from both church and wider communities have received Anglican Communion support to enable them to buy food and daily necessities as job losses and the economic impacts of lockdown threatened their food security.
In his video, Archbishop Justin also focuses on the message of 1 Peter – the biblical theme to the Lambeth Conference and on Psalm 133.
“Peter refers to us as living stones, built up as a spiritual house. We are the household of faith. The household of God."
"In Psalm 133, David declares how good and pleasant it is for us to dwell together in unity.”
“In this time of global crisis, we need to care for the weaker and the more vulnerable members of the household.”
“The pain and suffering of my own sister and brother must become my own pain and suffering. I must do what I can to help. By bringing our help across the world, we will fulfill our personal responsibility that God has given us through his call to the church.”
The ‘Together In Unity’ initiative is encouraging bishops and dioceses to share information about the campaign in their communities and support however they are able.
Anyone from around the Anglican Communion can donate directly through the online form using credit cards through the donate link at: archbishopofcanterbury.org/appeal
The “Together in Unity” Appeal online form receives donations in UK pounds, which are currently twice the value of the New Zealand dollar. The form accepts donations from addresses outside the UK when donors add their address and select their non-UK country from the drop down menu in the “country” line on the form.