Episcopal Relief & Development served a record 3 million people in 46 countries last year, according to the new diocesan coordinator, Jacqui Och.

The cause was aided by $59,243 in contributions from within the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, given through 364 individual donations. The total giving across the Episcopal Church last year was approximately $20 million.

Episcopal Relief & Development works through established Anglican churches across the world. Last year’s efforts included:

♦ Rebuilding cyclone-devastated Myanmar.
♦ HIV prevention the country with the highest HIV rate, in Swaziland
♦ Improving health, education and skills training for women in Afghanistan

Another Episcopal Relief & Development success, NetsforLife, delivered its one millionth insecticide-treated mosquito net in sub-Saharan Africa. It seeks to distribute one million nets each year for the next five years to fight malaria in 18 countries.

"Local churches are often the place those in need turn to, and the where community leaders on the ground can most effectively address the needs of the people," Och writes in her report for the upcoming diocesan convention.

Do tensions within the Anglican Communion have any adverse effect? Och says "when it comes to serving those in need and victims of disaster, these issues are irrelevant."

The recent General Convention declared the First Sunday in Lent as Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday throughout the Episcopal Church.

Och says she hopes the diocese’s improved relationship with the Episcopal Church results in greater support for Episcopal Relief & Development. She would like for parishes to name one representative to work with her to support NetsforLife, Bishop’s Blend fair trade coffee sales, Gifts for Life, and other efforts.

Together, she says, the people of the Diocese of Pittsburgh can work "to heal a hurting world".

More information can be found at www.er-d.org.

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