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Commitment for Life

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Commitment for Life    

  ~ 25 years of faith and justice in action ~


Trinity URC and Commitment for Life

Commitment for Life is the world development programme of the United Reformed Church and this year (2017) celebrates twenty-five years of seeking global justice. Trinity is just one of many URC churches who have faithfully supported this programme over many years. Those taking part are motivated and concerned about injustice and show this through their ongoing prayers and giving for people across the world but especially in Commitment for Life’s four partner countries/region.

Partner Countries

Commitment for Life churches are linked through Christian Aid to one of the four countries/region below

 Bangladesh

 Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua)

 Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory

 Zimbabwe       

At Trinity, we have chosen to take a particular interest in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, where Christian Aid has been working with the poorest people in the region since the early 1950s, when they provided help to Palestinian refugees. Today they are working with more than 20 Israeli and Palestinian organisations to protect human rights, access to services and resources, and to build peace based on justice for all.                                                  

History of the programme – how it came about

This year marks a special milestone as Commitment for Life celebrates its 25th anniversary. The programme, in its present form, was launched in 1992 but grew from an earlier initiative adopted by the URC in 1973 known as the ‘1% Appeal’. At the time, local congregations were asked to give a penny in the pound of their disposable income towards development work as a regular, ongoing commitment rather than a one-off donation. The concept of committed, regular giving has been fundamental to the success of the programme as it makes long term planning possible. Ideally, our commitment should also include giving of our time to learn about and pray for communities and projects supported by the programme and the issues that affect them.

How the money is spent

Commitment for Life works in partnership with Christian Aid and Global Justice Now (previously known as the World Development Movement). Since its beginning the programme has raised millions of pounds      

  


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 Of the money raised 75% goes to Christian Aid to be divided equally between the four partner countries, so allowing Christian Aid to make long-term plans for those countries. The URC is one of Christian Aid’s biggest denominational givers.

10% to Global Justice Now for advocacy and campaigning. This UK-based organisation campaigns on issues of global justice and development such as trade justice and climate change and justice.

15% for advocacy, administration and grants. Administration and relationship roles are undertaken by the Commitment for Life Programme Co-ordinator            

Details of specific projects currently bringing hope to communities living in Israel and the Palestinian occupied territories will be given in a follow up article in the September Church magazine. It is clear that by linking with campaigns, partners and projects through Christian Aid and Global Justice Now we can make a real difference to the lives of some of the world’s poorest people and work together for a better world.

 Gift envelopes are available to those wishing to support Commitment for Life on a regular basis.

Pat Harman


Image credit: Christian Aid


Commitment for Life    

~ Hope for justice and peace in the Holy Land ~


The year 2017 marks 50 years of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The harsh reality of the situation is that Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) are denied control over basic aspects of their daily life. It is the Israeli military that largely determines their ability to move freely within their own country, to exit and return, to develop large parts of the territory, build on their own land, access natural resources or grow their economy. Clearly, ending the occupation is the single most important priority to enable Palestinians to advance development goals, reduce humanitarian needs, and ensure respect for human rights. Despite stalled peace processes, however, and the deprivation, discrimination and misery of the occupation, people in Gaza and on the West Bank still hope and strive for a better future.

How is Trinity involved?

At Trinity, we have chosen to take a particular interest in Israel and the OPT and support Christian Aid’s work in the area through the Commitment for Life programme. In Gaza and the West Bank, Christian Aid works with and supports local partner organisations such as PARC (Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee). Importantly, such organisations have a specific knowledge and understanding of local conditions, constraints and needs and are able to work effectively at community level with individuals and families. The following case study illustrates how PARC helps build resilience and hope, giving people a chance to recover and rebuild their lives.

Keeping the land alive

PARC’s involvement in irrigation, agricultural and rural development projects across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip helps to sustain the Palestinian economy and agricultural sector. PARC provides support to small-scale farmers, including women in rural areas to help them improve their ability to make a living from farming, even in the face of competition from Israeli-branded produce.

“This is my land, it was bare.  Now I am working on it and gaining from it.  PARC has helped us, who own our land, to make it fruitful.”

So says Alam Hussein, a farmer in Bizzaryah, North West, West Bank. Like many other farmers in the region Alam lost good farming land when the separation wall, dividing Palestine from Israel, was built.  He is part of a land development programme, set up by PARC, where reclaimed land can now be used for planting fruit trees.

This programme allows the farmers to get a better income from unusable rocky land. The rocks are initially cleared by hand, broken down and used to create retaining walls. A fence then marks the area to be worked. Once service roads are widened, tractors can be brought in to help plough the earth ready for planting the fruit trees. Varieties such as olive, almond, prunes or apricot are chosen to give a good yield and produce cash crops.

This programme has already led to a million fruit trees being planted, and they are now planting towards the second million. The fruit trees are a symbol of a hopeful and productive future.

This article is based on material produced by Commitment for Life. More information and real life stories relating to work being carried out in Gaza and the West Bank can be found at: www.urc.org.uk/mission/commitment-for-life.html

Pat Harman

1. Image Credit: bing.com

2.  Image Credit:  Imead/cforl

3.  Image Credit:  Imead/cforl