Christian Aid at 75
Christian Aid asked me to share what makes me proudest of the charity and my involvement within it – I have been on the Christian Aid Ireland Board since 2015. It is a question that I have struggled to answer, not because I am not proud of the work of Christian Aid Ireland, but rather because pride is not my overriding emotion when I consider its work.
My thoughts are dominated rather by a pressing sense of urgency regarding the sheer scale of work to be done and the priorities that come with that. This work requires much more than meddlesome do-gooding. It necessitates a crystal-clear strategy, an analytical understanding of the issues and the humility to listen to partners working on the ground. It demands action that explores not just how we can help Charisma and others like her around the world, but recognises and fights against the structures which put her there in the first place.
Proverbs 31 compels us to “Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!”
I am proud that Christian Aid has brought that strategic urgency for 75 years.
Christian Aid was formed to helped WWII refuges in mainland Europe in the 1940s.
In the 1950s this work was extended to Palestine, Korea and China.
As the swinging 60s came in to view the work expanded again, to Nigeria, Kenya and India.
Christian Aid led the aid sector in helping donors understand the connection between Western consumer habits and the causes of poverty throughout the 1970s.
The Ethiopian famine was the major humanitarian cause of the 1980s and Christian Aid and its partners were at the centre of that relief work.
Advocacy work came to the fore in the 1990s as Christian Aid stood up for people living with the stigma of HIV, and for refugees in Kosovo.
The turn of the millennium saw Christian Aid lead the Make Poverty History campaign.
In 2010s and 2020s the work has focused on the issues of the global village including climate change and tax justice.
Amos makes it very clear how we are to express our Christian faith. It’s focused on a little less conversation a little more action. A little less religiosity and a whole lot more righteousness.
“I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me.
Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them.
Away with the noise of your songs!"
For 75 years Christian Aid has been expressing its faith in the public square, not with assemblies and offerings and songs, but with the pursuit of righteousness and justice.