A formative part of the modern history of the of the Church in England and Wales is the age of religious persecution. Our ancestors faced harassment, arrest, torture and even death over a period of many decades. Thankfully those times are long behind us; now and for recent generations we have and have had the freedom to live the Gospel, to serve the Gospel and to proclaim the Gospel whatever our other difficulties and troubles may be.
The work of Aid to the Church in Need serves as wonderful and constant reminder of that history as well as being now with so many of our sisters and brothers throughout the world who face persecution, harassment and oppression by fact of their faith or the exercise of it; who are not able to join in the liturgy, gather in prayer or for Bible study without let, hindrance or fear. The reality of ACN’s work to-day reminds us of our history and the gratitude we have to those who paid the price of religious persecution for our religious freedom. This thankfully translates into many of our parishes being sensitive to the work of ACN and looking beyond their own families and communities to the needs of the Universal Church that suffers and of which we are part. For my Diocese the work of ACN is both the rich reminder of the freedom with which we are able to live the Faith and the opportunity to be in solidarity with others for whom in Christian hope that day is yet to come. The generosity of prayer and gift are a witness to the value we put on our faith and for that I am grateful for the part this Diocese is able to play in its support of Aid to the Church in Need. I pray God’s continued blessings upon the invaluable work of ACN at home and abroad. – Bishop Peter Brignall, Diocese of Wrexham.