Church action

Wherever disaster strikes, Anglicans are there to help people: whether it’s communities devastated by the tsunami in Japan, people fleeing conflict in Congo, or those flooded out of their homes in the Philippines, the Church is there to help.

With thousands of churches around the world, and a global Alliance for our relief work, the Anglican response to humanitarian emergencies is unique. We act quickly to bring together the work of churches and agencies to support communities affected by disasters – caused by natural events or conflict.

Natural disasters are on the increase, from flooding in the Philippines to drought in the Sahel and hurricanes in the Caribbean. Conflict-related emergencies are also killing thousands of people, displacing millions and tearing communities apart.

Anglicans are present in more than 165 countries, working on the frontline of these humanitarian emergencies. The local church is in the community long before a disaster hits. It endures the consequences alongside the community, and it stays long after the emergency has passed. Very often these Anglicans are in some of the poorest, most remote and forgotten places in the world where there is no one else to help or provide relief.

Anglican agencies bring great expertise and experience to tackling many of these emergencies, and the Alliance helps by sharing the best practice so that churches can learn from each other.

We are looking at three technical pillars of relief work: disaster risk reduction, response and resilience.

Disaster risk reduction

Anglican agencies are committed to working on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) as the best option to reduce the loss of lives and property. They are mainly working with communities that are already vulnerable and are encouraging them to implement preparedness measures before disasters strike. The Anglican Alliance is supporting this effort through concrete actions such as: raising awareness around the Anglican Communion about the importance of DRR, strengthening the leadership of the local church in this field, mainstreaming DRR in all development initiatives and producing resources that will help the church local staff to work in this area.

Response

Healing the wounded; feeding the hungry and helping those in need is part of the Church’s mission. The Anglican Alliance supports the practical work and highlights the Church’s role in the wider humanitarian community. We are committed to strengthening the capacity of local churches to respond to emergencies.

One of our priorities is to improve the level of support that Churches are able to provide for their communities by buidling better links with external agencies and organisations, especially those in the UN humanitarian family, promoting international humanitarian standards and circulating information and appeals around the Communion.

Read more about response.

Resilience

Faith communities go beyond the material aid and provide healing to overcome loss, despair and hopelessness. In situations of conflict, churches are very important in promoting reconciliation, forgiveness and reuniting communities.

For example, Anglicans in DRC are reuniting women with their families in a community where rape is used as a weapon of war. The Alliance is learning the lessons from DRC to share with the wider Communion.

Read more about resilience.

ACT Alliance logo

Some of the communities hit by disaster do not have any links with the wider humanitarian community. The Anglican Alliance provides a way of joining up with global relief organisations, especially with our faith-based partner Act Alliance which is a coalition of more than 130 churches and affiliated organisations working together in 140 countries. We have applied for observer status to ACT Alliance.

And the Anglican Alliance is committed to contribute to the wider humanitarian effort and to facilitate a proper coordination between local churches and International Non-governmental Organisations and United Nations Agencies such as UNHCR and OCHA.

Sharing best practice

Many communities in the Anglican Communion have been affected by disaster. On the Appeals page you can read some examples of what has happened to communities, and how the Church is responding to crisis.

If you have an experience to share or if you want to know more about our work, please contact anglicanalliance@aco.org.