Inaction the least controversial response for Church?

Date: Monday 2nd October 2017

Sir, What with the extensive flooding in South Asia, hurricanes in the Caribbean and earthquakes in Mexico, the demands upon our charitable instincts have rarely been greater.

With this in mind I recently wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury with a suggestion as to how the Anglican community could lend aid to the devastated islands in the Caribbean.

Dominica was badly hit by Hurricane Erika just two years ago, now 90 per cent. of the homes on the island are damaged. I was utterly heartbroken to hear a woman on one of the islands saying: “We can’t even help each other.”

Bishop Brook reported, during Richard Corrie’s BBC Radio Cumbria program, that the islanders of Anguilla were pulling together and making good progress in the clean-up of Anguilla. He went on to say that Dominica and other islands were demolished by the hurricane and would need help.

The people of the neighbouring Windward Islands, some of which are struggling themselves financially, were rallying to help those of the Leeward Islands.

In my e-mail to the Archbishop I asked if a proportion of one Sunday’s collection or the offering of a donation bowl placed in all Anglican churches could be sent out to help the devastated islands, some of which are within the 12 which make up the diocese of the North Eastern Caribbean and Aruba, and one of which is Dominica.

I felt that where other charities looked to supporting and helping with such things as infrastructure, sanitation, engineering, etc, perhaps the Anglican Church may have been able to help with such things as rebuilding of homes for the poorer people, schools, churches, and equipment for schools.

I received a reply from the Rev. Andrew Nunn on behalf of the Archbishop saying: “I am afraid that I think there would be an absolute outcry if the Church organised relief funds for the Caribbean rather than South Asia where the monsoon rains have caused terrible destruction leaving thousands dead and millions homeless.

“It must be for individuals to decide where they target their aid giving. There are a number of relief funds that are easily found on-line and the Archbishop would certainly encourage people to give generously to whichever they felt appropriate.”

Is the rationale of this response that inaction is the least controversial response — don’t help anybody and nobody can be offended? Is the priest leaving it yet again to the Good Samaritan?

Could the collection not have been divided between South Asia, the Caribbean and Mexico? Please help the people in the Caribbean, South Asia and Mexico where and when you can. Every little helps. Yours etc,


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