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Christian Aid's mission to create peace on earth

Christian Aid is working with peacemakers like Bishop Paride Taban - a UN peace prize winner from South Sudan (Image: Christian Aid/Natalia Chan)

WITH CHRISTMAS approaching, Christian Aid is inviting churches across Britain and Ireland to help bring ‘peace on Earth’ by supporting its Christmas fundraising appeal for families caught up in conflict overseas.

The international development charity, which has projects running in 40 countries, has launched its first-ever ‘Christmas Aid Appeal’ – calling on supporters to ‘Be A Peacemaker’.

The appeal highlights ongoing efforts to assist children and adults whose lives have been blighted by the destructive effects of war and violence.

Mark Sturge, Christian Aid’s head of the London region, is leading the appeal. He said: “As we enter the season of Advent, it is a time to reflect on Jesus’ mission to bring everlasting peace.

“Today, one child in every six will wake up in a conflict zone around the world. And if current trends persist, then by 2030 more than half of the world’s poorest people will live in countries affected by high levels of violence.

“Conflict traps people in poverty and robs them of their chance to fulfil their God-given potential.

“Where there is violence and war, people do not have a safe place to call home or reliable access to food, quality healthcare, an education and an income.”

Sturge continued: “Jesus said: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’, but when we see the state of the world, we might well wonder: ‘Where are they?’

“However, at Christian Aid, we know that while peace is broken every day, it is also being built every day, by ordinary women and men working to bring hope to seemingly hopeless situations.

“These brave, dedicated peacemakers – with whom we partner – put their own lives at risk day in, day out, to protect vulnerable individuals, reduce acts of violence and care for those suffering from the traumatic experiences of war.

“We want to stand together with them during this season, to transform conflict into lasting justice and security.”

TRAUMA
Christian Aid is currently investing in peace-building initiatives run by its local partners in countries such as Lebanon, South Sudan and Colombia.

Its Christmas appeal highlights different ways peace can be built in these diverse contexts.

For instance, for a girl or boy who has fled war in Syria, peace may mean having an opportunity to play and heal from trauma in a children’s centre run by Christian Aid’s partner Association Najdeh, in a refugee camp in Lebanon.

For civilians displaced by armed conflict in Colombia, peace may mean living in a weapons-free ‘humanitarian zone’, where Christian Aid’s partner the Inter-Church Commission for Justice and Peace is helping them to stay safe and find non-violent ways to secure their rights.

For communities in South Sudan – a country about to mark the fifth anniversary of a deadly conflict – peace may mean coming together to talk, build understanding and find reconciliation, with the support of the South Sudan Council of Churches, another Christian Aid partner.

Christian Aid is thus encouraging people of faiths and none to be ‘peacemakers’ by supporting the Christmas appeal. Visit christianaid.org.uk/ christmas.

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