During the week that would have been the fifteenth Lambeth Conference, The Archbishop of Canterbury has launched a new initiative called ‘Together in Unity’ to support churches and communities around the Anglican Communion during the COVID-19 crisis.
The bishops of the Communion had been expected to be gathered at the University of Kent in Canterbury this week for the decennial Lambeth Conference; but this has been postponed until 2022 because of the global travel restrictions imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19.
In a video message to the bishops of the Communion, Archbishop Justin said that the whole world had been affected by the impact of Covid-19, with some communities and dioceses being harder hit than others.
“The Coronavirus pandemic has hurt families, communities and nations across the world in so many ways”, he said. “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 Archbishop of Canterbury’s Together in Unity appeal is being administered by the Anglican Communion Fund (ACF), a UK registered charity that supports the Archbishop of Canterbury’s international ministry and provides grants for provinces and dioceses of the Anglican Communion.
The ACF has already allocated more than £180,000 GBP to support churches in areas of need across the Communion as part of a special Covid-specific grant cycle; and is now seeking to raise an additional £250,000.
Amongst the recipients to have benefited from disbursements already are more than 200 pastors and lay readers in the South Sudanese Diocese of Maridi, who were provided food relief. Church leaders in the diocese have been trained in virus prevention; and five pastors have been given bicycles and hand microphones to carry virus prevention messages into remote areas
And in Bangladesh, hundreds of vulnerable families have received support to enable them to buy food and daily necessities in the midst of job losses and economic pressures from the lockdown.
Referencing Psalm 133 and the biblical theme of the Lambeth Conference, 1 Peter, Archbishop Justin told the bishops that “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 fulfil our personal responsibility that God has given us through his call to the church.”
For more information about the ‘Together in Unity’ initiative – visit: http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/appeal