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General Synod 2023

One Year On: From Despair to Hope

Staff from USPG and the Diocese in Europe were joined by members of the General Synod as they reported on how the joint appeal, launched last year, has supported refugees from Ukraine across Europe. 

Rebecca Boardman (USPG) and Andrew Caspari (Diocese in Europe) were able to share how the fast-paced and generous response from the Anglican Communion led to over £400,000 being raised.  For the response to be as effective as possible, Andrew spoke about how building strong ecumenical relationships with Caritas SPES and LWF was vital, and we were able to give £100,000 from the appeal to support their work on the ground. 

Rebecca shared some stories about the transformation that she witnessed on a trip to Europe earlier this year. She spoke about how the Valila Help Centre in Finland was providing three main areas of service: humanitarian aid (such as clothes and food), emotional support and information and practical advice relating to life in Finland. 

Andrew said, “People see and know that it is The Church that is responding, we are mobilising communities to not only fulfil needs such as food and education but also to build powerful connections and conversations”. 

After a Q&A session, we closed our time together with a new video filmed by Ukrainian filmmaker Elena, who captured footage and stories of the chaplaincy in Bucharest, Romania supporting Ukrainian refugees. You can watch that film here: 

Strengthening Global Connections to Tackle the Climate Crisis

On 8 July, members of the General Synod attended a USPG and Christian Aid joint fringe event on the topic of how strengthening the Church’s global connections improves our approach to the climate crisis. 

The Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Rev Dr John Perumbalath, led the session. It began with a virtual challenge from Rev’d Rachel Mash - Environmental Coordinator, Anglican Church of Southern Africa. 

In a short video, Rachel discussed the challenges that we face because of the climate crisis. She challenged the room to consider the importance of hearing and sharing stories from around the world. By listening to the real-life experiences of our international brothers and sisters, it is difficult to dismiss the impact of climate change. Especially the fact that it is often the people who have contributed the least to the climate emergency, that are suffering most. 

The attendees then came together to consider two questions: 

  1. How are our global links enabling us to hear stories of those who are most affected by climate change? 
  2. How can we do more to share those stories to strengthen action? 

It was encouraging to see much solidarity in the room as attendees agreed that by standing together globally on this issue we can create positive influence at a church and political level.  

As a global body, the Church has a crucial role to play in the fight against the climate crisis. 

The Rt Revd Olivia Graham, Bishop of Reading summed it up by saying: “It sometimes feels like we shy away from being political but now is the time to be political. We should recognise the power we have as the Church. All Christians have a responsibility to raise awareness on this issue. We have to have a relentless hope that we can recover the discipline of hope on this issue”.


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