Christian World Service is asking churches to give their full support to the 2015 Christmas Appeal launched this Sunday.

A young Sudanese girl heading to school in a refugee camp in South Sudan provides the image for the campaign.  She carries her seat on her shoulder and hope for a violence-free future in her heart.  In launching the 70th appeal, CWS invites New Zealand churches to get behind the work of partners making peace in homes, communities and nations.

The needs of some of the world’s most vulnerable people are the focus for the appeal which has the theme “Help Rebuild Lives”.  The complex issues facing our planet are having a huge impact on families who are struggling to cope.  Funds raised will help CWS’s long term partners deliver medical services to refugees in Jordan, training to small farmers so they can grow food when water is short, and much more.

The appeal is a 70 year Kiwi tradition.  At the close of World War II Archbishop West Watson launched the first Christmas Appeal in a letter to the Christchurch Press on 15 December 1945.   The then National Council of Churches raised funds to help war-torn Greece and that tradition of international cooperation and partnership has continued ever since.  It is endorsed by the leaders of the Anglican, Christian, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches and the Quakers.

Video messages from partners and friends featured during the 70th anniversary celebrations, including the endorsement from Helen Clark, and a PowerPoint presentation of the past 70 years are now available.  We encourage churches to use them to promote the Christmas Appeal in their communities.

The Appeal puts the spotlight on five partner groups working to repair communities damaged by war, disaster and poverty in Gaza, Nicaragua, South India, Uganda and Vanuatu.  You can read their stories.

Worship resources including the ever popular candle lighting liturgy written by Rev Dr Geoff King are available here.  For more Christmas Appeal envelopes, service sheets or posters in 10 different languages, please contact at 0800 74 73 72.

Donations to the Christmas Appeal can be made:

Christian World Service has been doing emergency relief and community development work on behalf of New Zealand churches since 1945.  It works with local groups in 20 countries which are making change happen so people can live a life free from poverty.  CWS is a member of the ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together), a global coalition of more than 140 churches and church related organisations working together in the areas of humanitarian assistance, advocacy and community development.

For further information contact: Pauline McKay: Phone: 03 366 9274 / 0212891225

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