We need to end COVID for all – not just Australians

Christian campaign to support vulnerable nations

Australians are being encouraged to widen their COVID concerns to include the poor through a new campaign called End COVID For All.

The new campaign is being led by Micah Australia, who has gathered a collective group of more than 50 international aid and development organisations who support the assistance of vulnerable nations in the light of COVID-19. End COVID For All offers Australians the chance to sign an online pledge saying they are committed to ending COVID for all and will stand in solidarity with neighbour countries by calling on the Australian government to provide vital support to vulnerable nations.

“Our national borders are closed for the foreseeable future [but] our hearts are not shut.” – Tim Costello

End COVID For All will culminate in a Night of Action and Solidarity on World Humanitarian Day on 19 August.

“End COVID For All is really an appeal to the nation to say that though our boundaries are shut and our national borders are closed for the foreseeable future, our hearts are not shut,” explains Micah Executive Director Tim Costello.

Micah is encouraging churches to take up the campaign in creative ways that work for their churches, while social media graphics and other resources have been prepared for churches which need them.

“Some churches are holding prayer vigils, others are streaming online as they chat to missions partners overseas about impact of COVID-19,” Micah’s Beck Wilesmith told Eternity.

“We’re really leaving it up to partners and churches with how creative they want to be on that night with engaging their audience in an action.”

In a bonus episode of Hope in Crisis podcast released on Monday, Costello told listeners that the responsibility to care for the poor is a distinctly Christian one. Costello drew on the words of the Apostle Paul’s in Acts and of Jesus himself in Luke 4 and Matthew 25, before articulating just how dire the situation is in many countries.

“We are so aware that in neighbouring nations there’s infection rates soaring, such as in Indonesia. And where they’re not already seeing high infection rates, there’s dramatic economic harm, pushing people back into poverty – that’s [defined as] living on less than $1.90 a day. [This is] undoing so many of the achievements of lifting people out of poverty, just because of economic activity literally shutting down.”

Micah has created social media graphics for churches that take part in the End COVID For All campaign.

“The World Bank estimates 500 million people will be pushed back into absolute poverty,” Costello said. “Whether it’s East Timor or Papua New Guinea or the Solomons, we could see levels of poverty in those three neighbouring countries equal to sub Saharan African levels of poverty. We always thought our neighbourhood was somehow a bit different in the Pacific…

“Well, this is what COVID-19 is doing to our neighbours. Their economic future is looking uncertain because of the economic shutdown and closure. So this is particularly global and profound and, without a vaccination, none of us know quite when this is going to end.”

Costello described the call as “a different take” on Martin Luther King Jr’s famous statement that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.

“Infection anywhere is a threat to us all everywhere,” he said. “None of us are safe until it ends for all.”

Micah are hosting an online briefing for church leaders, pastors, advocates and others on Monday 20 July at 8pm. Costello will share his heart for the campaign and more details about opportunities for church engagement will be presented.

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