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Ways of the World

Carol Stone, business economist & active Episcopalian, brings you "Ways of the World". Exploring business & consumers & stewardship, we'll discuss everyday issues: kids & finances, gas prices, & some larger issues: what if foreigners start dumping our debt? And so on. We can provide answers & seek out sources for others. We'll talk about current events & perhaps get different perspectives from what the media says. Write to Carol. Let her know what's important to you:

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Helping the People in Burma

With the strict, closed political situation in Myanmar, it appears that religious organizations were first on the scene with aid following last weekend's Cyclone Nargis. We heard from Episcopal Relief & Development Monday that they were already in touch with the Anglican Church of the Province of Myanmar and funneling funds into their churches. Church World Service, Christian Aid in the UK and other organizations put out immediate appeals as well. The website of the United Methodist Church Committee on Relief (UMCOR) tells us explicitly that Church World Service is one of the few organizations with a standing permit to work in Myanmar.

But the former status of Burma as a British Colony means there is an established network of Anglican churches. The Church of the Province of Myanmar was founded in 1970 and has six dioceses throughout the country. Thus, we in our Province of the Anglican Communion have partners on the ground already at work, despite the government's hesitation in letting in outside aid organizations. Clearly, as much help as is forthcoming and more will be needed, but it felt really good to be aware that we are tied into a network that got started even while the rain was still falling and the water still rising.

We're seeing many pictures of the people, the flooding and the damage. These satellite pictures from NASA give some idea of the broad scope of the problem. The top photo was taken yesterday, May 7. It contrasts dramatically with the picture of the "normal" lay of the land, which was taken less than three weeks ago, on April 19.

It's clear that it will take considerable effort over a long period of time to get the Burmese economy, such as it is, back to work again. Here is another example where Episcopal Relief & Development shows its own unique double-pronged approach. It is helping with the disaster relief, and it will stay around to help with rebuilding. For the Burma/Myanmar society, this really means building from scratch and trying not just to help them recover but surpass the conditions they have had up to now. We hear over and over about how God brings good out of bad situations. This has the potential to be another such occasion. Unashamedly and without prompting, we urge you to participate.
Here's the link to make your gift. Thank you, in advance.
The photo is from, a service of the Reuters [News Service] Foundation.

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