In the five years I have been at Christian Aid, spring has always been the most exciting time of the year, as we count down the days to our annual fundraising drive in May.
Christian Aid Week (10-16 May) is the time when tens of thousands of our supporters take to the streets to raise the money that enables us to pursue our mission of combating extreme poverty in poorer parts of the world.
It is, we like to proclaim, the biggest act of Christian witness in Britain and Ireland. Last year, thanks to the active support of an incredible 20,000 churches across Britain and Ireland, we raised some £11m.
This year, through door-to-door collections and community fundraisers, such as sponsored walks, sponsored abseils, barbecues, cake sales and myriad other events, we hope to do even better.
Such widespread engagement with the general public is only possible in the first place because of the energy and commitment of so many of you, and your generosity of spirit, for which we are truly grateful.
We look forward, too, to festooning Westminster with bunting in June, when we hope many of you will take up our climate change call to Speak Up For The Love Of people living in poverty.
Actually, Christian Aid supporters have long been speaking up for the love of people living in poverty, and this year marks our 70th anniversary. It is, of course, a matter of concern that while the world has grown so vastly richer since our inception, the need for the assistance we and other agencies o er is as great as ever.
In a sermon broadcast on BBC Radio 4 last month, in a service to mark the Christian response to the suffering of the second world war, our Chair, Dr Rowan Williams, said of the churches who set us up: ‘They resolved to set a new standard, to give the suffering, the hungry, the forgotten and displaced, the honour and significance they deserved.’
That is the challenge that still drives us. Your support provides us with the means to make an impact.
Chief Executive, Christian Aid