THE charities Tearfund and Alpha UK have released a series of short films to tell inspiring pandemic stories from churches around the world.
Each of the five films in the “Reactivate” series for showing in churches highlights the community response of churches over 16 months of lockdowns, including distributing sanitary products and food, and offering mental-health support.
The first film features Tearfund’s country director for India, Prince David. “The Covid pandemic has been devastating,” he says. “There are very few intensive-care facilities for people living in the poorest countries in which Tearfund works. . . In slums or refugee camps, there is very little space to practise social distancing or hand sanitising. But . . . Tearfund has been able to provide public-health messaging to advise communities on the best practices to respond in difficult situations.”
Since March 2020, the charity has delivered 97,000 hygiene kits and more than 12,500 food parcels around the world through its partner churches, he said.
The other films feature Kate, a 38-year-old mother from Littlehampton, in West Sussex, who joined Alpha to help her daughter, who became interested in Christianity; Nabil Costa, a Tearfund partner in Lebanon who discusses how the charity responded to both the 2019 revolution and the 2020 pandemic; a UK student, Ethan, who describes how he found God; and Darwin Hernandez, who explores the Church’s response to Hurricanes Eta and Iota in Honduras, Central America.
The head of Church and Supporter Engagement at Tearfund, Ruth Tormey, said: “We are excited to be sharing these stories of hope and compassion with churches across the UK. We’ve seen churches respond to the pandemic in incredible ways.”
Alpha UK runs the 11-week Alpha course. Its England lead, Marie Aitken, said: “These films are an exciting and easy way to engage church congregations in what our brothers and sisters in Christ are doing around the world.”
Accompanying the series are five recorded talks by Alpha and Tearfund representatives. In one, Tearfund’s country lead in Brazil, Claudia Moreira, says that the church response to the pandemic was “not unique. For approaching 2000 years, the Church of the followers of Jesus Christ has transformed lives.”
In another, a university student, Leah, compares the response to the Early Church’s seeking justice in Acts 2.
Ms Moreira said: “The pandemic has pushed more people back into poverty, and those in extreme poverty remain on the brink. Today, we are seeing so many lives transformed through the amazing work of the Church. But there are many families who are in desperate need of support now.”
Church leaders interested in showing the film series can download these and other resources for free at www.tearfund.org/reactivate. Donations are encouraged to the charity’s Recover Together appeal: www.tearfund.org/recover