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30.03.2020

United on mission in times of pandemic

All UEM regions are now affected by COVID-19. (Photo: UEM)

A friend in need is a friend indeed. An experience that many of us share.

In the UEM communion, we are currently experiencing many genuine, lived friendships. Of the countries in which UEM member churches are based, the corona virus first hit the Philippines and directly afterwards Germany. The first reports of people testing positive followed curfews.
In numerous mails and phone calls we received worried feedback from Africa and Asia. Questions grew more and more, how we were doing and if something could be done for us. Frankly speaking: a situation that at first felt somewhat unfamiliar from a German perspective. But the realization also matured that care and sympathy knows no compass points.

The enormous health threat now applies worldwide. In many places, however, it has triggered an at least equally dangerous health care emergency, from which Europe, with some exceptions, has so far been largely spared. The current reports from the contexts of our member churches, for example in the Philippines, Sri Lanka, South Africa and the Congo, give cause for great concern. Particularly affected are the urban metropolises, where millions of people depend on daily care from outside.Churches and local congregations are making every effort to deal with the situation appropriately. In eastern Congo, for example, groups of women are sewing face masks. Increasingly, we are receiving requests for personnel assistance in the medical sector.

All those responsible in the UEM communion are in constant communication and are now deciding together how the people affected can be given targeted support. For this we will again be dependent on donations, some of which we have already received and which we will collect and then use in a targeted manner. At the same time, important projects that are supported by UEM must not simply be discontinued.
Church facilities, for example for children, disabled or old people, will continue to receive full support. For many of them they are the only home!
Just recently I visited a project in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where church employees are taking care of single young mothers in an exemplary manner. There, teenage mothers find a safe place - for them, the only place to go that offers them protection and practical help in their difficult situation.

Dear people who are associated with UEM, without donations the tasks ahead would not be possible. We continue to receive loyal support. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you very much. Thank you for supporting disadvantaged people in Africa, Asia and Germany in these difficult times. In the spirit of Paul, who wrote to the Galatians: "Bear one another's burdens, and you will fulfill the law of Christ"!

This is what we in the UEM communion are experiencing more than ever these days!

Timo Pauler (Executive Secretary for Finance & Administration)

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