Christian Aid News Release

Clergy and Christian Aid supporters will take part in the first ever South Deanery Walk remembering neighbours both local and global this Christian Aid Week (15-21 May 2016 in a walk commended by the Bishop of Bristol.
Britain’s longest running door-to-door fundraising week is asking the public to love every neighbour – wherever they live in the world – and will include a day-long 12.5mile sponsored walk around four churches in the deanery on Saturday May 21.
Walkers will start from St Francis Church, Bedminster, at 10am and finish at St Michael’s and All Angels, Bedminster at 6.30pm having called in at St Aldhems, Bedminster, Christ the Servant, Stockwood, and St Andrews, Hartcliffe.
Among the walkers will be Joanne and Stephen Smith of St Francis Church. Joanne said: “I have wanted to take on the challenge of walking the deanery for some time now, and am delighted that Christian Aid partners will benefit from our walk.
“Praying and walking around the streets and joining our churches together is a fantastic missional opportunity and I hope it has a big impact on communities both local and global.”
During Christian Aid Week churches and Christian Aid groups across the South West raised £1.24million in 2015, including over £89,000 in Bristol and South Gloucs, to tackle poverty in some of the world’s poorest communities.
The Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Rev Mike Hill said: “I’m delighted to hear that churches have partnered with Christian Aid to launch the first Bristol South Deanery Walk. Having seen Christian Aid’s life changing work first-hand, I know that each step taken will help others take the long walk out of poverty. “The walk will be a visual demonstration of commitment to the community, both local and global, and I’m sure that as walkers meet people along the way and pray there will be a real sense of unity and transformation.
“Christian Aid are working in over 40 countries worldwide, helping us to love our global neighbours by challenging poverty and injustice in many forms. Do consider walking some or all of the 12.5 mile route in what promises to be a rewarding experience.”
Across Bristol there will be many collections and events as churches and residents express their love for their global neighbor, including new Big Brekkie fundraising events running in churches for the first time this year such as one on Sat 21 May 9-11am at Fishponds Baptist Church. Everyone is welcome.
In a tour of the South West in February, including visits to Bedminster and Portishead, Christian Aid project officer Rezwana Islam, from Bangladesh, shared stories of families on the edge of survival when she spoke of the desperately precarious life of islanders in the country’s mighty rivers who fear their crops, their homes and even their children might be swept away in the next flood.
These stories feature in this year’s Christian Aid Week materials, underlining the vulnerability of extremely poor and marginalised people at the mercy of nature and the impacts of climate change.
In Bangladesh Christian Aid partner organisation GUK is supporting families suffering with the consequences of floods. A Christian Aid Home Safety Package (£250) provides an earth plinth, raising a home 6-8ft above water, creating a safe place for a family to rebuild their home and safely keep livestock. The package also includes a goat, seeds and a wormery, all of which will provide a long-term income.
As she brought her tour of the South West to an end and prepared to return to Bangladesh Rezwana said: “On the river I was moved to see the genuine friendship shown between the staff of Christian Aid partner organisations and the local families. They show such compassion and are continually learning from the communities they support.
“In the South West I have been moved to see the commitment and passion of our supporters, which is far beyond my expectations. This year’s Christian Aid Week strapline is ‘Love Every Neighbour’ but it’s not a strapline, it’s reality.”
You can help to change the lives of climate-affected families in places like Bangladesh this Christian Aid Week by donating online at calling 08080 006 006, or texting ‘SAFE’ to 70040 to give £5. For more information about Christian Aid Week and how to get involved visit