Bishop’s Lent Appeal 2019

Bishop Ian invites us to support two charities: Aberlour Childcare Trust and St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group. If you wish to contribute, please look out for special envelopes at the back of church which can be placed in the alms box or given to June, our treasurer.

We learnt during Advent about the wonderful work Aberlour does to improve the lives of vulnerable children and young people and we look forward to visiting some of their projects in Falkirk after Easter.

St John Eye Hospital’s goal is to eradicate preventable blindness in Palestine. They treat all patients regardless of race, religion or ability to pay and are the only charitable provider of expert eye care in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. In 2017 they saw almost 135,600 patients and performed over 4,800 major operations. The costs to run their services amounts to £8.3 million annually.

Palestine has rates of blindness which are ten times higher than the West. 80% of blindness is completely preventable but most conditions are treatable only if they are caught quickly, otherwise they cause permanent damage. Movement restrictions due to the Separation Wall and permit system make it difficult for patients to access medical care. Frequent outbreaks of conflict have led to high levels of poverty and unemployment, making medical care too expensive for many. Also there are high levels of genetic eye disease amongst Palestinians.

There are St John Eye Hospitals in Jerusalem, Gaza and Hebron, clinics in Anabta and the Old City, a Mobile Outreach Programme in the West Bank and Gaza and a Diabetic Retinophathy Screening Programme. They also have a School of Nursing and run programmes to train doctors and nurses to become ophthalmic specialists in addition to research studies to find ways of preventing inherited ophthalmic diseases from developing in the next generations.