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Act for Peace

2019 - 70th anniversary of the Christmas Bowl 

Christ the King Sunday

Seventy years ago, millions of refugees were starving in war-ravaged Europe. As Reverend Frank Byatt, a young Methodist Minister, looked at his heavily-laden Christmas dinner table, the contrast between this abundance and the needs of others around the world could not have been starker. 

As a Christian, he felt that he had to do something. After all, it was Christmas, the one great day of sharing! So he called on his congregation to “get a bowl to put on your Christmas dinner table as a Bowl of Remembrance and see if you can get everybody round the table to make a generous gift so that you can share your good dinner with hungry children in other lands.”

This is the story of the very first Christmas Bowl, a story you may already know very well. And in the 70 years since then, your church along with thousands of others, have rallied behind this vision to provide practical Christian care to people who are struggling.  

Over the past 70 years we have seen that real change is possible and we will continue to respond as the Church across Australia and commit to loving our neighbours around the world.  

Rev. Dr. David Reichardt, from Normanhurst Uniting Church speaks at the church’s annual Christmas Bowl service. 

Image credit: Ben Littlejohn/Act for Peace


Today, we continue to respond as the Church together. From providing emergency relief for World War II refugees in 1949 to bringing life-giving water to families in drought-stricken South Sudan today, you have responded with God’s love during some of the most urgent crises of our time. 

Just last year, people like you raised more than $2.3 million for food, shelter, education, healthcare and training for communities in need. 

And your support of the Christmas Bowl has never been so vital. Today, the number of people displaced worldwide by conflict or persecution has reached more than 70 million – higher than any time since records began. 

Please give to the Christmas Bowl and share Christ’s light through water – the one basic thing that supports us all.  


As Christians, we must keep doing more, and keep working together to realise our shared vision of a truly just and peaceful world.  

It’s a beautiful vision, but as you know, sadly still a long way from the reality we experience today on this Earth. Thank you for sharing God’s love through the Christmas Bowl, so together we can stand-up to injustice and support our brothers and sisters in need around the world.  

Through the Christmas Bowl, you can bring safe, life-giving water to many families like Sunday’s in South Sudan. 

Find out more www.actforpeace.org.au/christmasbowl