Christmas Bowl an interdenominational expression of faith during COVID-19

Christmas Bowl an interdenominational expression of faith during COVID-19

More than 15 Christian denominations and 1300 Australian churches have pledged their support of the 2020 Christmas Bowl, including the Uniting Church.

Although Christmas 2020 will be different for many, organisers say that the Christmas Bowl will remain a consistent presence, in a time it is most needed.

Act for Peace’s Hannah Montgommery said that the Caronavirus had been “catastrophic” for those “already struggling as a result of conflict and disaster.”  

Ms Montgommery said that in Zimbabwe, families who have now lost their livelihoods. This, she said, made the Christmas Bowl more important than ever.

The Christmas Bowl is one of the longest standing Christmas appeals in Australia. It was established in 1949 by Rev Frank Byatt to raise money for refugees post WW2.  On Christmas Day that year, Frank put a Bowl of Remembrance on the dinner table and asked his family to place a gift inside to help those less fortunate than themselves.

The first Christmas Bowl raised £1,808.  Today, churches have raised more than $100 million.

Uniting Church President Dr Deirdre Palmer has called on church members to support the Christmas Bowl.

Through our generous giving, communities will be empowered to respond to health and socio-economic needs in ways that address the impacts of COVID-19 and provide them with pathways to recovery,” Dr Palmer said.

“In this time, when we are so aware of our interconnection, God calls us to give and act, sharing our resources, so that all people can flourish.”

Churches can choose to organise a socially distanced gathering or opt for remote participation this year. The Christmas Bowl website contains resources, including bible readings, stories, and even colouring-in activities for children.  Churches can also have their own dedicated page so their congregation can donate online.

Churches will be able to hear directly from Act for Peace’s local partners in Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Jordan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh via Zoom recordings, learning firsthand how they are responding to the pandemic and about all of the work they’re doing on the ground despite the new challenges this has created. 

Act for Peace is the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia.

To register your church for the Christmas Bowl and receive a resource kit visit the official website here.

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