In Lebanon: Elias and Zena and their children fled to Beirut from Iraq after Islamists killed Elias’ brother. They went to St. Anthony’s clinic, run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. Zena’s sister also fled there, after she was raped whilst taking her eldest daughter to school. Her attackers had shouted, “You are Christians. You have no right to live in this land”.
Last year St. Anthony’s clinic treated over 8000 refugees from Iraq, more than a third of them children. However, the aid agencies diverted money away from Iraqi refugees, cutting aid by 50%, because of the crisis in Syria.
Sister Hanna, the clinic’s director, appealed to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) who provided £16,000 so that the clinic could continue to help refugees like Elias and Zena.
In Syria: ACN helped to support a village of 12,000 people trapped without bread and other basic necessities. Intense fighting destroyed the bridges and roads leading out of the village, making them impassable, as well as bringing down power lines. ACN gave £39,500 for basic foods, medicine, baby milk and nappies. As motorcyclists were running the gauntlet of taking bread to the village they were shot at: fortunately ineffectively.
In Egypt the children of poor families receive education in 35 Catholic schools that Orthodox children also attend. Christians – Catholic, Orthodox and Copts – work together here as true brothers and sisters in Christ. Unfortunately they do not feel safe in Egypt’s new political regime: they continue to be attacked as Christians, and they are not listened to by those in power.
To find out more about what ACN does and the reality of being Christian in other parts of the world, check the notice board in the church foyer and / or go to www.acnuk.org. Then pray …