The Christmas Bowl Appeal
It all started on Christmas day in 1949, when the Reverend Frank Byatt of Victoria placed an empty bowl on the dinner table and asked those present to give what they considered to be the cost of the meal. Frank urged his guests to reflect on their good fortunes and encouraged them to do something selfless to bring relief and hope to refugees who had fled the horrors of World War II.
65 years later and the Christmas Bowl appeal has grown to become a much-loved ecumenical tradition. For the 2,000 churches from 19 denominations who now take part each year, it is an essential part of our Christmas celebrations. It’s how we as Australian Christians come together to share God’s gift of love and hope with people around the world who need it most.
The Christmas Bowl appeal has a proud history of bringing Christians together to act in solidarity with communities threatened by conflict and disaster. Together, we came to the aid of those starving during the 1985 Ethiopian famine. We gave comfort to people devastated by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. And today we are standing alongside the 50 million refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people worldwide.
This is the highest number of displaced people since World War II, and since the Christmas Bowl appeal began. Sadly, this shows us that the Christmas Bowl is needed as much today as it ever has been, and remains a vital link between those who have enough and those who are less fortunate.