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We were made for times like these

Yesterday I was out and about in the CBD of Sydney for the first time in weeks. It felt like I’d been away on a long journey, arriving home to find everything just a little altered. Signs have appeared on traffic light crossings – “Do not touch. Lights are automated.” In Pitt Street, usually alive with energy and industry, people are stepping cautiously around each other, but at least they’re back. It’s been a ghost town. Now, you sense the first tentative breaths of freedom. Maybe we’ve weathered the worst.

If only it were true everywhere.

Our friends on the streets of Amritsar and the rural lots of Zimbabwe are still hungry and terrified. In India, a brutal lockdown of 1.4 billion people has held COVID-19 at bay so far, but people are hungry. They’ve lost their jobs and many can’t buy food. In Zimbabwe, communities are being urged to wash with soap, but hundreds pump the same bore handle with bare hands. Virtually no one can afford soap. 

The UN estimates that half a billion people are under threat of being tipped back into poverty as a result of COVID-19. In every country in the world, it’s the poor, the migrants, the people of colour who are suffering disproportionately. And as economic pressure mounts, they’re the ones most likely to be sacrificed to keep the dollars flowing.

For many of us, perhaps struggling with loneliness, job losses or anxiety, there’s a sense that this disaster has taken its toll. We have no more to give. The numbers are too big.

Friends, here’s my conviction: we were made for times like this.

My colleague Rev David Baker, Moderator of the Uniting Church in Australia Queensland Synod, puts it like this:

“The whole premise of the Judeo-Christian faith is that we’re blessed to be a blessing to others – to be a gift, to make a contribution. We are created in the image of God to co-create, to grow – and in our incredibly small, interconnected globe, right now we need to direct our attention out beyond ourselves to the world.” 

Buried deep within our DNA is the knowledge that we exist for the good of those around us and that we share our humanity with the war widow in Sri Lanka, the sacked domestic servant in India, the frightened woman trapped indoors with a violent husband in Papua New Guinea.

Buoyed by that same conviction, our church partners around the globe have immediately rallied to provide food, safety, health information, hope and dignity to their suffering communities. And we will stand with them, always, to help make it happen. It’s just who we are. But it doesn’t happen alone, and that’s why I’m writing to you today.

Can I ask you to take a moment and give what you can, right now, to our COVID-19 appeal? Combined with funding from the Australian Government, we can make your donation go up to six times as far in the field saving lives.* And would you consider forwarding this email to others, or sharing the video below through your networks, to let other people know how they can be involved too? You can pray for our partners using this list of prayer requests and find out more about the people you’ll be supporting here.

Friends, I can’t thank you enough for all you do beside us as co-workers for a world made new. This is truly what is means to be part of the global body of Christ – please join the power of people uniting and act with us to bring dignity and hope.

With love and determination,

Dr Sureka Goringe
National Director
UnitingWorld