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Act for Peace

Share God's love through the Christmas Bowl 2018

A Rohingya man carries his father to a medical tent after crossing the border into Bangladesh.

As Christians, we are called respond to, and faithfully live out, the Gospel call to be generous in our love, and to participate in God’s mission to bring healing, wholeness and hope to those facing hardship and injustice. It sounds like an overwhelming task, but in fact we can reach people in need with the humblest of actions.

In August 2017, the world watched on in horror as the humanitarian crisis caused by escalating violence in Myanmar's Rakhine State forced more than 700,000 Rohingya people across the border into Bangladesh. In March 2018, Janet Cousens, CEO of Act for Peace, travelled to one of the camps to meet with Act for Peace’s partner Christian Aid, to see what Australian Christians could do to support Rohingya families who had escaped.

Act for Peace CEO, Janet Cousens, meets with Rohingya refugee, Jamila, in Jamtoli refugee camp, Bangladesh.

“My experience in the camp was intense. I had the privilege of meeting with deeply troubled but highly resilient people who had arrived in a place that wasn’t their own, seeking safety, and working hard to establish life on a day-by-day basis” says Janet.

“Personally I find it troubling and shocking that people in our time experience such violence and trauma. We have an extraordinary crisis on our doorstep and I continue to feel challenged about how we can reach out as Christ would in this situation.” 

Back in 1949, an Australian Reverend named Frank Byatt felt a similar challenge. He saw the plight of refugees who had fled the horrors of World War II and believed he had a responsibility to share the joy of his Christmas with others in need. That’s why on Christmas Day in 1949, he put a Bowl of Remembrance on the dinner table and asked his family to place a generous gift in it to ‘share your good dinner with hungry children in other lands.’

“The tradition of the Christmas Bowl is incredibly important. To me, the Christmas Bowl is about family and friends coming together, pausing to be grateful for what we have, and thoughtful about how we can share this with others” says Janet.

Ayesha lost her newborn baby after her village was attacked. You can give her surviving children the love and support they need, through the Christmas Bowl.

This year, your gifts through the Christmas Bowl will provide Rohingya families with urgently needed shelter, medical care and support. Your gifts will also support local partners around the world to both meet urgent need and create change that lasts. Act for Peace believes that local people are best placed to identify the problems faced by their communities and create solutions that work. So, they partner with local organisation on the ground to achieve change, equipping communities affected by conflict and disaster with the skills they need to solve their own problems and get back on their feet. 

This year, Act for Peace is aiming to raise $2.3 million to support families affected by conflict and disaster around the world. All of the resources needed to take part can be found on the Christmas Bowl website at www.actforpeace.org.au/christmasbowl.

“I believe that our Christian community here in Australia can play a crucial role in reaching out to support the Rohingya and other vulnerable communities affected by conflict and disaster. Through the Christmas Bowl, we are working with the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus, fulfilling the calling that He gave us. We can walk forward trusting Him, knowing that He is able to do what we are not able to do in this circumstance. Our role is to trust Him, to pray, and to step out with practical acts of support.”

Resources can be downloaded from the Act for Peace website.

If you have not received your Christmas Bowl mailing, Ph: 1800 025 101 or E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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