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Rome Church Earthquake Appeal

Tuesday September 6

The Church of Scotland in Rome, which has raised more than £12,000 for survivors of last year’s earthquake in Nepal, is now fundraising for help closer to home.

Following last week’s earthquake in central Italy, which killed nearly 300, displaced thousands more and caused widespread damage, St Andrew’s Church set up a Justgiving page to make it easier for people in Scotland to donate to the long-term rebuilding effort. Churches in Europe are also raising money but are sending Euros directly.

St Andrew’s session clerk, Inge Westeunk, said: “The relief volunteers are working very hard and the government here is building small wooden houses for the earthquake survivors, but what we are hearing is that about 3000 people are in tents and because they are up in the mountains it is going to be cold at night, and in a few weeks it will be colder and they will need heating, which is going to be difficult.

“It will take years for them to recover and they will need support for a long time. But we know they will be comforted and encouraged to know that people in Scotland care about them and want to do something to help.”

The church had previously raised £12800 for the Let Us Build a House campaign, set up by the Church of Scotland’s World Mission Council to respond to the Nepal earthquake of April 2015. St Andrew’s itself held a sponsored walk and quiz night, and encouraged other churches in Rome to join the campaign.

The Rev Willie McCulloch, who has just retired as minister of St Andrew’s, said: “I am delighted that we have been so successful in our effort to support Let us Build a House in Nepal. After the 2009 earthquake we reached out to survivors in that region and took a big party out to spend a day there. We have longstanding relationships with people there and will be raising funds to help the people in the Amatrice region. The Church of Scotland is known for its solidarity with the people of Italy when they are in need.”

The Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said: "Churches in Italy responded with great generosity when they saw the human suffering caused by the 2015 Nepal earthquake. Having now suffered a devastating earthquake in their country the people of Italy need our prayers and our practical support. Sometimes in life we are givers and at other times receivers and I hope the people of Scotland will show our brothers and sisters in Italy the same generosity they have shown to the people of Nepal.”

The total raised for the Let Us Build a House campaign is now more than £200,000. Iain Cunningham, convener of the World Mission Council, said: "The response from Presbyteries, congregations and individuals to Let Us Build a House has been truly staggering. There have been many creative fundraising activities taking place up and down the land and we want to thank everyone for their efforts and for recognising the immense need of people in Nepal at this time.”

Joel Hafvenstein, executive director of United Mission to Nepal, the Kirk’s partner in the region, thanked everyone who donated.

“We are very, very grateful for the money that has been raised as well as for all of your prayers,” he said. “It’s tremendous and it means a lot to us. We want to use it to build homes for the poorest of Nepal’s homeless people and we are looking forward to putting this money to use.

“Through our 62 year history of service in Nepal, the Church of Scotland has been a faithful partner and it is your help that is making it possible to transform lives for people who have lost everything.”


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