Disability focus for Bishop of Lichfield’s Lent Appeal

The Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill

The Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill

The Bishop of Lichfield has launched his annual Lent Appeal with a plea for Christians to dig deep to help people with disabilities.

This year’s appeal will support projects in Peru , the Palestinian Territories , Pakistan and the Staffordshire Peak District.

Writing in his appeal letter, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill acknowledges the current economic climate, but stresses that the recession is having a bigger impact on the world’s poor.  He said:

“We all know that there are still many people here in the West Midlands who are suffering as a result of the global recession; but also we are equally aware that the recession is having a major impact on people all over the world – including those were already living in great poverty.

“Take for instance people like those who live in the Victor Raul sector of Pamplona Alta, in Peru . Some of the homes here have walls made of rushes and mud; but others are handmade structures built with whatever the householder can find, such as cardboard for walls and plastic sheets to keep out the cold.  Some houses are built with bricks but without the know-how necessary to prevent them collapsing during earthquakes or floods. Each home comprises two or three rooms each accommodating up to 10 people; and there is very limited access to water and electricity.

“In places where poverty is so ingrained, people with disabilities are particularly disadvantaged – not only because the ‘disabled access’ we take for granted just doesn’t exist; but also because people with physical and mental impairments are a real burden on families. Their situation poses a high risk to their survival, yet alone their rehabilitation.”

The bishop’s letter goes on to detail the work of the projects being supported this year:

  • The Shalom Project in the Victor Raul sector of Pamplona Alta, in Peru: Created by women in the Anglican Diocese of Peru to provide personal physical and spiritual support to children with disabilities and to develop disability awareness within the community. Supported by CMS-SAMS, the Shalom Project is able to assess the specific individual needs of the children and help parents access the necessary support.
  • The YMCA rehabilitation project in Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem: Supported by Christian Aid, the rehabilitation centre provides psycho-social counselling, vocational evaluation and support.  Last year the centre helped more than 800 young people cope with the trauma of injury and adapt to life with a disability.
  • Special Needs Health Centre in Pakistan: An initiative of the Diocese of Peshawar, this centre provides a range of professional services from speech therapy to physiotherapy; as well as practical help and support to their families.
  • Dovedale House in Ilam, the Staffordshire Peak District: The Diocese of Lichfield’s youth centre is run by thousands of children and young people each month.  The House is now looking to improve its disabled access to ensure people who use wheelchairs can make full use of the House and its facilities.

Bishop Jonathan added:

“I know that times are tough for many people, but I urge you to consider prayerfully how you can support this appeal; and respond generously so that we can make a real difference in the lives of people across the world and here in our own diocese.”

Nearly 600 churches across the diocese will be supporting the appeal through Lent Lunches, sponsored events, special collections and other events.  Around £50,000 is raised each year for projects in the diocese and overseas.

This year, for the first time, people can give online to the Bishop’s Lent Appeal by credit or debt card, by going to lichfield.anglican.org/lent-appeal.

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