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Christmas Bowl appeal
Rev Avril Hannah-Jones sees the Christmas Bowl appeal as a great way to give something back to others in need. Photo: Supplied

Filling the Christmas bowl with generosity

For over 67 years, the Christmas Bowl has been a way for compassionate Christians to express the love of Christ to those in great need around the globe, with this year’s appeal focused on drought-stricken Zimbabwean farmers. Jess Xavier reports.

Giving is such an important part of Christian living and last year generous Uniting Church members in Queensland raised over $110 000 for the Christmas Bowl appeal.

Generous donations helped bring clean water, soap and toilets to South Sudanese refugees living in Ethiopia’s Gambella region and helped other people suffering around the world.

Rev Avril Hannah-Jones, Williamstown Uniting Church, Victoria minister, says, “I feel extremely grateful that I have the chance to support the Christmas Bowl appeal. This reminds me of how incredibly lucky I am to live in a country with an abundance of food.

“Given that I am so privileged, I am grateful that I am given a chance to give something back.”

The Christmas Bowl’s humble beginnings can be traced to Christmas Day 1949, when the Rev Frank Byatt placed an empty bowl on the dinner table and asked his guests to give a gift to bring relief and hope to refugees who had fled the horrors of World War II. 

Frank could never have known that his simple act would grow into the incredible outpouring of love and compassion it has become today. As well as being a much loved ecumenical tradition, the Christmas Bowl appeal is a demonstration of unity for Christians in Australia, and brings more than 1800 churches from 19 denominations to act together in love and solidarity to help those in need.

With unprecedented numbers of people displaced around the world and millions more suffering from severe hunger, the Christmas Bowl is a vital beacon of light and hope which is sadly needed now more than ever.

By supporting the 2016 appeal Zimbabwean farming families who are struggling to feed their children after suffering the worst drought in 35 years will be provided vital assistance.

While Act for Peace has already taught hundreds of farmers new conservation farming techniques such as digging individual pits for each maize plant or covering soil with mulch, there are so many in need of help and your generosity will assist in ensuring more farmers are empowered to make a difference and grow sustainable farming operations that support themselves and
their community. 

For Jessina, a Zimbabwean farmer, the new farming techniques have transformed her barely fertile wasteland into a thriving farm and she can now use extra money from selling crops to buy animals.

“I’m now in my third year and I have many goats, turkeys, guinea fowl and chickens,” Jessina says. “I hope my children will learn from me what I have learnt so that they have an improved life.”

To make a Christmas Bowl donation visit actforpeace.org.au/christmasbowl or call 1800 025 101


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