“Then he told them, ‘Go and preach the good news to everyone in the world.’” (Mark 16.15)
About 50 years ago, a young priest in the then Parish of Gin Gin, near Bundaberg, took these words to heart and thus began Anglican Aid Abroad (AAA). Fr Neville Nixon knew that he could not personally go to everyone in the world, but he could enable others in that task by financially supporting small religious orders to preach God’s word and show his love to those in their community. AAA grew from this vision and today supports around 60 partners in 25 countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.
Anglicans, mostly in Queensland, have given unstintingly to support small groups of Sisters and Brothers to educate themselves, start schools, care for orphans, provide healthcare and show leadership in food production. Br Daniel Mathews of the Society of St Francis remembers the joy of receiving some of the first funds for medical work and education in Papua New Guinea. In 2008, my spiritual life was radically and indelibly changed by a 14-week visit to the Sisters of St Mary in Tanzania on behalf of Anglican Aid Abroad. There I witnessed the profound faith and love of Jesus shown in schools, health clinics, support for the vulnerable, care for people who were maimed and outcast, and through the teaching of sewing and agriculture to improve livelihoods. With the support of AAA, these Sisters, and others like them, indeed preach the Good News in word and deed every day.
During the events of the past 18 months, AAA has been able to respond almost immediately to the food and medical needs of whole parishes, especially in India. As people lost jobs, and came to their local church for help, AAA responded with money to buy rice, lentils and vegetables. During the worst of the pandemic in India, we had a plea for prayer from unwell pastors and parishioners who could either not get to hospital or who needed oxygen in hospital. AAA sent money immediately and a whole ward of the very ill received life-giving oxygen. This is a witness of the love of Jesus to people of different or no faith, as well as to Christians.
Although AAA has grown and changed over the years, it has remained true to the original concept, as it remains run by a dedicated band of local Diocesan volunteers, including The Ven. Donald Campbell SSF as our Chair and The Revd’ Daniel Jayaraj from All Saints’, Chermside as our Treasurer, along with Archbishop Phillip Aspinall as our Patron. Because we have ongoing relationships with people on the ground, AAA can respond immediately to a crisis, and through the past generosity of God’s people, a separate fund takes care of administration costs. Thus, all donated monies intended for our overseas partners are sent to them.
It is a privilege to be a part of God’s kingdom work: to witness the joy on the faces of villagers who now have a well so that women do not need to trudge six kilometres every day for water from a muddy hole in South Sudan; to see the fields producing more food as a result of education for Christian leaders in Tanzania; to provide food and medicines for orphanages in South Africa; to assist self-sufficiency for pastors in Rwanda with the gift of a goat; to enable stateless Karen people to grow food in Thailand; to fund a small paediatric unit in a district hospital in Tanzania; to bring education and sight to people living in poverty through an eye clinic in Ghana; to enable HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis education in remote areas of Malawi; and, to give post-cyclone aid in the Pacific.
If you would like to learn more about such projects, receive a newsletter or arrange a visit to your Church, please contact Anglican Aid Abroad at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Anglican Aid Abroad website.