Celebrating forty years active support for CAFOD in St Leonard’s-on-Sea

Recently Kevin and Linda Dignum celebrated at least 40 years of active support for CAFOD from Church of St. Thomas of Canterbury and
English Martyrs, St. Leonards-on-Sea.  They prepared a history of the Church’s support for CAFOD for a display and it is reproduced here below. It is a great example of how faithful and generous the Catholic Church has been and continues to be.

CAFOD was first established in St. Thomas of Canterbury Parish in June 1973.  Money was collected through the “Friday Self Denial” envelope scheme. During  the next decade we supported projects in:

Ethiopia (x3), Columbia, Guatemala, Zimbabwe, Malawi (x2), India (x3), Kenya (x3), Venezuela, Tanzania (x2), Chile (x4), Peru (x3), New Guinea, the Philippines, Brazil, Cambodia (x2), Thailand(x2), Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Honduras (x2).

In 1979 we also supported the Indian Flood Disaster Appeal

In 1983 we also supported the Ethiopian Famine Appeal.

In 1984 CAFOD introduced a new fundraising scheme – The Partnership Scheme. In the previous decade we had committed relatively small sums of money to the different projects in many countries, raising in the region of £20,000 altogether.  Under the new scheme, we were asked to commit to a particular country and different projects within that country.  Our first Partnership Scheme was with Kenya and we committed £2000 in support.  In the following years we engaged in Partnership schemes with Ethiopia (1985), the Philippines (1986), Nicaragua (1987), and Bangladesh (1987), each time committing the sum of £2000.

In 1987, CAFOD celebrated its 25th Anniversary with  “Proclaim Jubilee”, a Development Education Campaign and in the following year launched “Proclaim Jubilee in Africa”.

We returned to Ethiopia for our next Partnership Scheme in 1988, and the following year we supported Kampuchea, Laos and Vietnam in a combined Partnership Scheme.

Also in 1989, CAFOD launched a Development and Environment Campaign called “Renewing the Earth”.

Kevin Dignum and Parishioners of The Parish of The Good Shepherd at a recent Harvest Supper for CAFOD's Syrian Refugees Crisis appeal.

Kevin Dignum and Parishioners of The Parish of The Good Shepherd at a recent Harvest Supper for CAFOD’s Syrian Refugees Crisis appeal.

Into the 1990s, our first Partnership scheme was with Brazil, followed by Sudan, but in 1991civil war and famine caused development work in Sudan to be suspended.  This year also saw more disasters with the Bangladesh Cyclone and another Emergency Appeal was launched.In 1992, a new Campaign was launched, focusing on Latin America – “Land, Hope . . .and Glory?”  To coincide with this, we returned to supporting work in Brazil, followed in 1993 by Guatemala and Peru.

In 1994, CAFOD  launched “The Refugee Campaign” , and we returned to Africa, supporting a Partnership with Mozambique, and a programme of repatriation, resettlement and reconstruction following the civil war.

Throughout the rest of the decade we continued with our support for “Working in Partnership” in  Bangladesh , Brazil, Central America and the Philippines

To greet the new Millenium, CAFOD launched “Challenge 2000”, focusing initially on food and then on livelihoods.  We were also part of the Jubilee 2000 campaign to cancel third world debt.

2002 saw the start of “Today, Tomorrow, Together”.  For two years we supported the people of South East Asia, with projects in the Philippines, East Timor, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

From 2004 – 2006, our focus moved back to Africa, and we continued to support “Today, Tomorrow, Together” in East Africa , raising money for projects in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

During 2006 CAFOD launched “Focus Africa” and for the next four years that’s exactly what we did.

During the first decade of the new Millennium, there were a number of disasters around the globe which meant Emergency Appeals had to be launched.  We supported, among others, the Dafur Appeal, the Tsunami Appeal and the Haiti Appeal.

And so on to the last three years.  In 2010, CAFOD launched a new fundraising initiative called  “Connect2 . . .” and for the last three years we have been supporting connect2:Rwanda and the villagers of  Musha.  Now we are about to embark on Connect2:Ethiopia – a country we first supported 40 years ago!

CAFOD 40 years display

CAFOD 40 years display

During all of these years, the basic method of donating money has remained the same – through the CAFOD envelope scheme, which are collected and counted each week.  In addition, of course, we have always supported the annual Lent Fast days and Harvest Fast days.

The new Millennium has also seen a number of CAFOD Campaigns which we have supported, including “Drop The Debt”, “Trade Justice” and the biggest of them all “Make Poverty History”

As well as fund-raising, over the years we have held  a number of CAFOD days, half-days and evenings to help raise awareness of some of the issues around sustainable development, usually led by the CAFOD Diocesan Office.  In recent times, we have joined with other Parishes in the Deanery to organise Lenten events such as Reflections on the Way of the Cross.

And, of course, we have our annual Harvest Festival and Supper, an event which first began in the 1980s in the hall of the Holy Ghost Church and which has been held every year since then!

So – over 40 years, together we have supported projects from vocational training to irrigation, from adult literacy programmes to sanitation improvements, from training farmers to health care, from resettlement of refugees to women’s centres and many more. We have been in Africa, Asia and Latin America.  Together we have helped CAFOD change peoples’ lives and campaign for justice and a better world.

THANK YOU!   (but the work goes on . . .!)

We would like to add our thanks to the people of the Church for their support. As you can imagine, there are countless people throughout the world who have been helped by your support. There will be people who were enabled to go to school, people who were taught new trades and how to farm land, countries who were freed from crippling debt, families who received emergencies kits in disasters and so much more. Thank you for your generosity and faithfulness.


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