The Christmas Bowl
In the midst of turbulence and division, Australian churches
come together to share Christmas with the world
The Christmas Bowl
In the midst of turbulence and division, Australian churches come together to share Christmas with the world
Once again this year, COVID-19 has disrupted the lives of most of us here in Australia. As is often the case, the impact was not felt evenly, with the poorest among us hit the hardest. As Christmas approaches, you can join with Christians across Australia to share God’s love with those who need it most through this year’s Christmas Bowl appeal.
‘Through the Christmas Bowl we can come together as Christians and reach out to help people uprooted by conflict and disaster who are in urgent need of food, shelter, and lifesaving support,’ said Janet Cousens, CEO of Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia.
In 2021, the pandemic has continued to have a devastating effect on so many communities around the world, especially the 82 million people uprooted from their homes by conflict or disaster, and the people caught up in the humanitarian crises caused by this year’s conflicts in Ethiopia, Myanmar, Gaza and the fall of Afghanistan.
The contrast between the relative abundance we enjoy here in Australia and the needs of uprooted people is even more obvious at this time of year, and the Christmas Bowl was born of the desire to redress the balance.
One of the longest standing Christmas appeals in Australia, the Christmas Bowl was established in 1949 by The Revd Frank Byatt to raise money for refugees post-World War Two. On Christmas Day that year, Frank put a Bowl of Remembrance on the dinner table and asked his family to place a gift inside to help those less fortunate than themselves. The Christmas Bowl was born.
Today, the Christmas Bowl Appeal is held in churches and through online donations, but the sentiment is the same – to share God’s love by helping our neighbours.
‘The Christmas Bowl is needed as much now as ever. It enables us to actively express our unity in Christ, to share our faith through positive action and shine a light of hope into the darkness,’ Janet added.
Since the first Christmas Bowl began over 70 years ago, more than $100 million has been raised, illustrating the incredible impact that Australian churches can have when they work together. This year, more than 15 Christian denominations and 1,300 churches across Australia are expected to take part.
‘In the Christmas story, we see God choosing to become our neighbour by taking on human flesh. This is an act of love from God that draws us into the story of God’s love for all creation and invites us to be witnesses to God’s love through our loving action in the world. The Christmas Bowl provides us with a practical way to show love for our neighbours most in need. Your gift to the Christmas Bowl will remind our neighbours around the world that they are not forgotten, that they are loved and that we are all part of God’s love. As we celebrate Christmas, may our love for our neighbour grow,’
The Revd Sharon Hollis, president, Uniting Church in Australia.
‘At a time when the pandemic continues to have a devastating effect on so many communities around the world, your generosity through the Christmas Bowl is a powerful demonstration of our support for uprooted people. In a world that often feels divided, Australian Christians can stand alongside those forced from their homes by conflict and disaster. Together, we can share the joy of Christmas and help build a world where all people have a safe place to belong,’ said Janet.
Share God’s love this Christmas by giving through the Christmas Bowl and help provide uprooted people with the food, shelter, and lifesaving support they so urgently need: christmasbowl.actforpeace.org.au/donate.
About Act for Peace
For more than 70 years, Act for Peace – the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches – has brought people together to create a more just and peaceful world. As an expression of the life of churches in Australia we draw our inspiration from Jesus who demonstrated solidarity with those who were marginalised and oppressed. Today, our work has expanded in both reach and impact through programming with local partners, and advocacy with governments and others with power. We work to reduce forced displacement across Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific. We act to support uprooted people in their role as leaders, work in solidarity with long-term local partners, and leverage the strengths and reach of the global network of local ecumenical agencies of which we are a part. We’re joined by thousands of churches and tens of thousands of other members of the public in Australia who share our values. And we work collaboratively as a member of local, regional and global networks and alliances. Together, we’re helping to create a world where people uprooted by conflict and disaster have a safe place to belong.