The leaders of 10 Christian charities are today highlighting to the Northern Irish Executive the unique role they and the local church are playing during the coronavirus outbreak.
In a letter to the First Ministers, the charities describe how in the weeks and months ahead, many more people will feel the need to call upon their organisations and the churches they resource. They also emphasised their willingness to work in collaboration with the Government to help those most in need.
David Smyth, Head of Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland, said, “Our local churches are made up of compassionate and motivated people, who love their towns, cities and villages. They have already been making a huge difference in their communities to bring practical support and hope since the crisis started.”
Working with the local church in communities across the North, the charities, which include Christians Against Poverty, East Belfast Mission and Youth Initiatives, wrote in their letter that they “stand ready to work strategically in partnership with the Executive and agencies at every level to ensure the best possible response at this time”.
Alison Flanagan, National leader of Christians Against Poverty Northern Ireland, commented, “The work that all of our charities do is vital and our reach across Northern Ireland is significant. Together we are helping thousands of people, regardless of their background, at every level. We are feeding and supporting vulnerable children and adults, helping with personal finance and finding work, providing hope and social connection and, most of all, linking up those who want to give or volunteer with those in need.” David Smyth commented, “We have been so impressed by the way local communities, businesses and charities have worked alongside statutory services to bring practical help to those in need. We believe the local church has a vital role working with these groups and pointing to the hope of the gospel in these challenging times.”