For more than 70 years, Act for Peace has brought people together to create a more just and peaceful world. As the international humanitarian charity of the National Council of Churches in Australia, we believe in a world where everyone belongs, and that to get there, we must work together.
It’s both the right thing to do, and the only thing that will work.
Rev. Frank Byatt, 1954
We set out to provide urgently needed aid to refugees and others suffering in Europe from the horrors of the Second World War. Leading this work was a Methodist minister from Victoria, Rev. Frank Byatt. His mission was to unify Australian Christians of all traditions to work together to put the word of the Gospel into action.
In 1949 Reverend Byatt encouraged people to put an empty bowl on their Christmas dinner tables and to place a generous gift in it to ‘share your good dinner with hungry children in other lands’. Thus began the visionary Christmas Bowl appeal which is now supported each year by tens of thousands of people from a wide range of denominations.
In 2008, our name changed to Act for Peace. Today, through projects with local partners, and advocacy with governments and others in power, we work to reduce forced displacement across Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific.
Working with others remains core to our DNA. We act to support uprooted people in their role as leaders, work in solidarity with long-term local partners, and leverage the strengths and reach of the global network of local ecumenical agencies of which we are a part. We’re joined by thousands of churches and tens of thousands of other members of the public in Australia who share our values.
We also work collaboratively as a member of local, regional and global networks and alliances, faith based and other, including the ACT Alliance, the Australian Council for International Development, the Australian Church Agency Network, and others such as the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network, Micah Australia and the Emergency Action Alliance, all working together to combine resources, share expertise and achieve greater impact.
Janet Cousens, CEO, Act for Peace
From all people affected by conflict and disaster, we have shifted specifically to those who are affected by displacement. We have deepened our commitment to raising the voices of uprooted people and following their leadership through the initiatives we back. And we are increasing our efforts to address the underlying causes of displacement, by working collaboratively with others to build unity and transform unjust systems.
Delivering our new strategy will require new ways of working, new ways of engaging with civil society and resourcing our work, and shifts in our role as we work together to ensure that everyone has a safe place to belong.
We work in solidarity with long-term local partners, and collaborate with local, regional and global networks, alliances, academics, governments and the UN to achieve greater impact.