Garstang URC | Commitment For Life | World Development

Commitment For Life

Commitment for Life

 

"Happy are those who are concerned for the poor;
 the Lord will help them when they are in trouble.
The Lord will protect them and preserve their lives"  v1.  Psalm 41  

What is Commitment for Life?

Commitment for Life 20 Year LogoCommitment for Life is a network of United Reformed Churches committed to praying, giving and campaigning for change. Commitment for Life exists to give churches an opportunity to get involved in, and be challenged by, global justice issues. It does this by linking with partners and projects through Christian Aid and campaigns through the World Development Movement. Together we can make a difference to the lives of some of the world’s poorest people.

Its conception goes back to the very beginning of the United Reformed Church. One of the first things the URC did as a new denomination way back in 1973 was to establish a programme to support world development. But believing that commitment for change is more than just giving money to the poor, it joined with several other charities to start the World Development Movement. In those days charities were more firmly prevented from doing anything ‘political’ and so the World Development Movement was formed as a non-charitable body to comment and campaign on issues of justice as distinct from delivering direct poverty relief programmes.

The URC ‘Commitment for Life’ programme has given 10% of its income to World Development Movement every year since then, because as a Church, we believe in going much further than what is traditionally understood by a charity.

The bulk of the money, 75%, raised by Commitment for Life is given to Christian Aid and is equally divided between the four partner countries;

Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories
Bangladesh
Jamaica
Zimbabwe

Although each church is asked to select one of the four partner countries to focus on through prayer, giving and campaigning, our Church’s donation and those from the three Communion collections, are used to support relief projects in all four countries depending on their needs at particular times. The remaining 15% is used to support advocacy, administration and grants. More information is available on the Commitment for Life Website.

 Garstang URC and Commitment for Life

Garstang URC chose to focus on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories as its partner country. A long term project supported by Commitment for Life through Christian Aid is PARC, Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees, who support small farmers and rural women with projects such as the recent “Farm to Table” project. This programme is twofold. It purchases food for hungry families from local Palestinian farmers to address critical humanitarian needs and provide local farmers with needed income.

Another project established a “Parents’ Circle” consisting of more than 500 bereaved families, roughly half Palestinian and half Israelis. These families have spearheaded a reconciliation process between Israelis and Palestinians with the aim of changing the views and perceptions of their target group, Israelis and Palestinian youth.

A third example of the work of PARC is “The Culture and Free Thought Association” which was established in 1992 to improve life for the children of Khan Yunis refugee camp in Gaza. Today it runs community activities for children, young people and women, including the wonderfully named “Sunrise and Hope Centre” for Children. 

Like many of the groups PARC supports, they also work to meet emergency needs during times of crisis in Gaza.  For example, in January 2009 after the Israeli invasion, they distributed food and blankets, and provided trauma counselling to children and adults affected by the Israeli bombardment.

The more I read about the situation in Palestine, the more amazed I am at the resilience and humanity of ordinary families caught up conflict.

The work of Commitment for Life, through Christian Aid and partner organisations such as PARC is making a difference and deserves our support not just through our generous giving of money but through our prayers and our voices for change and justice.

 Commitment for Life Pledge

We pledge our support once again to Palestine and Israel our Commitment for Life partner countries.

In supporting, giving
In giving, praying
In praying, acting
In acting, loving.

For we stand in solidarity
As neighbours to each other,
With much to give and much to receive by the grace of God.
Amen
 


Garstang URC | Commitment For Life | World Development