A major new report by the Anglican Alliance provides an overview of how Anglican churches around the world have remained “a committed, loving and active presence in their communities” during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report says that even churches facing lockdowns have continued “praying, comforting, informing, connecting, feeding the hungry, promoting dignity in need, welcoming the stranger, caring for the sick and affirming gospel hope.”
The report, Building Hope Together, highlights many examples of how churches across the Communion are putting their faith into action and making a positive difference amidst the trauma of COVID-19.
“These actions build on the gifts and assets of churches: their sustained community presence and relationships, their trusted leadership, their networks of volunteers and professionals, especially young people,” the Anglican Alliance said.
“They also draw on their skills in counselling and community mobilisation, their knowledge of the local areas to identify the most vulnerable, as well as their church buildings, schools and health facilities. Despite their buildings in many places being closed, churches are finding innovative ways of continuing to serve the most vulnerable in their communities.”
The report gives several examples, including that of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, which has commissioned garment workers laid off because of the pandemic, to sew personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers – working from their homes and building on their existing skills. The Church has also developed a voucher system – called Dignity in Need – whereby the poorest receive money in exchange for a commitment to repay this grant through work on the church’s social and building projects once the pandemic is over.
The Anglican Alliance was launched following a request by bishops at the Lambeth Conference in 2008. It works to connect, equip and inspire the worldwide Anglican family of churches and agencies to work for a world free of poverty and injustice and to safeguard creation. The Anglican Alliance provides a mechanism for Anglicans to work together in the areas of development, relief and advocacy.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Anglican Alliance convened an on-going Global COVID-19 Task Force to identify emerging issues. It holds regular regional and global consultations to share learning and hosting thematic consultations on key issues, such as migration and domestic abuse.
The Anglican Alliance has also built an online COVID-19 Resource Hub in four languages to provide technical, spiritual and pastoral resources; and has been mapping appeals from provinces with potential partners.
“While the whole world has been affected by the pandemic, the impact has been felt most acutely in fragile and marginalised communities,” Canon Rachel Carnegie, the Executive Director of the Anglican Alliance, said.
“COVID-19 has revealed and exacerbated the inequalities between and within countries. The suffering and anxiety are immense – and yet…we continue to hear from across the Anglican Communion of churches sustaining hope in their support to the most vulnerable.
“This Advent we are called to reflect on our global interdependence and how we can be good news to one another across the world in this time of pandemic.”
First published on the Anglican Communion News Service website on 14 December 2020.