“We cannot prevent disasters, nor can we remove all threats and hazards from our lives. But we can increase our resilience to them – our capacity to absorb, mitigate, adjust to and recover from adverse events and circumstances” – Dr Janice Proud, Anglican Alliance Disaster Response and Resilience Manager.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and in other emergency situations, we have seen that the more resilient a community is and the better prepared it is for a disaster, the better able it is to respond, cope and survive when a crisis hits” – Nagulan Nesiah, Senior Programme Officer, Disaster Resilience, Episcopal Relief & Development.“We believe that cultivating our capacity to address disaster resilience and response will equip our churches to do better in accompanying the most vulnerable communities in our midst in times of crisis.”
In October 2020, the Anglican Alliance and Episcopal Relief & Development launched a new course to increase the resilience of churches and communities across the Anglican Communion. The Resilience course is a year-long cooperative learning exchange which shares learning, skills and best practice to build both a church and community’s resilience and their capacity to respond to a disaster.
The course has proved enormously popular. Over 140 people from 42 countries representing 23 provinces of the Anglican Communion have enrolled. The course is being conducted in six languages and each session takes place four times to allow people in different times zones of the world to participate.
In the video, course participants describe what the course is about and give a flavour of how diverse and inclusive the course is. As Dr Janice Proud says,“Much like the disciples at Pentecost, this video celebrates the many voices and languages of our gathered learners and the spirit of the course.”
The video is also available with subtitles in Portuguese, Spanish, French, Burmese, Tagalog, KiSwahili and Arabic.
A press release about the video launch, which includes much of the information on this page, is available in Portuguese, Spanish, French, Burmese, Arabic and English.
What does the course involve?
The course comprises an online gathering once a month. Each two-hour session has a particular theme and consists of a Bible reflection and a recorded thought piece, followed by live discussion in which participants reflect together and learn from one another. Themes covered include:
- climate resilience
- coping with trauma
- women and girls in humanitarian responses
- targeting marginalised populations
- networking for greater impact
- caring for the caregiver.
“I took the Resilience Course because I realised we need to be prepared for, not surprised by, climate-influenced events such as floods and fires… and even the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed our weaknesses and the need for the Church to be an agent of hope. The highlight of the Resilience Course for me was recognising that, while our cultures and geography may be different, many of the events we face are the same around the world.” Dilce Regina Paiva de Oliveira, Servicio Anglicano de Diacono e Desenvolvimento (SADD), Brazil.
The current course will run until the end of 2021. It will then be offered again from 2022. It is currently expected that these future courses will take place regionally across the Anglican Communion.
To express interest in future courses please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why and how did the course come about?
Anglicans are an integral part of their communities and are there when disasters strike. They are there before, during and long after other agencies have left.
The Resilience course is the result of three years of collaboration, exploration and sharing between the Anglican Alliance and Anglican churches and agencies across the Communion – especially Episcopal Relief & Development – an initiative called Partners in Resilience and Response (PiRR). PiRR grew out of the recognition that , as the number of disasters increases across the globe (in part due to climate change), building resilience and the ability to respond will be ever more vital.
PiRR is a Communion-wide programme to do just that. After pilots in different regions, the Resilience course was launched last October to increase the reach and impact of PiRR.
A further level of engagement
Some of the participants on the Resilience course will be invited to broaden their skills to become PiRR ‘resource persons’ or ‘accompaniers’. These participants will join five additional sessions where, using scenario-based experiential learning, they will develop listening and enabling skills. They will form a global fellowship of people who are resourced to act as accompaniers to churches in times of disaster, offering either in-person deployment or remote support.
We aim to develop a pool of 10 -15 resource persons for the Anglican Communion who are trained, equipped and confident to serve as accompaniers to communities going through a disaster or build a church’s capacities and resilience ahead of a disaster.
What is a resource person?
When a disaster hits, local capacity can be overwhelmed. When this happens, accompaniment by an experienced resource person from the region can help the local church as they navigate through uncharted waters.
Accompaniment is about working and walking alongside the church or community, providing empowering support and encouragement. An accompanier is not a consultant coming to do things for a church or community, or telling them what to do.
The resource persons will be Anglicans who provide support through in-person visits and from a distance. They will have a role to play before and/or after an emergency. Before: to build a church’s capacities and resilience. After: to help a local church determine and implement the distinctive role it can play in the response.
Participants who train as resource persons commit to serve as mentors and accompaniers on an invitation from a local church for either disaster preparedness or response.
Relief and Resilience are one of the Anglican Alliance’s key pillars, with an increasing emphasis on resilience as it becomes ever more apparent how critical resilience is in a world experiencing increasing numbers of disasters. You can read more about our work in this area here.