Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

I know Christmas is coming, but Easter hasn’t quite disappeared yet.

Last Easter saw the launch of the Real Easter Egg – the UK’s first ever Easter egg to mention Jesus and tell the Easter story on the box. Produced by Manchester-based Meaningful Chocolate Company, the aim was to make real the Easter themes of hope and new life by donating profits from the egg to charitable causes. How about this?

Over £25,000 has been given to charity from profits made by sales of The Real Easter Egg. David Marshall, from the Meaningful Chocolate Company, said:

I am thrilled to be able to donate over £21,000 to Traidcraft Exchange and over £4,000 to Baby Lifeline. In addition to this, we paid a fee to The Fairtrade
Foundation to support their work, including its education programme. Our farmers received a guaranteed price for their cocoa and sugar as well as a
Fairtrade Premium of $60 a tonne to invest in their community’s wellbeing. With over 80 million eggs sold in the UK every year, we have a long way
to go in our campaign to make The Real Easter Egg the gift of choice by the faith and wider community. Next Easter we hope everyone will look out for The
Real Easter Egg. Buying this egg is a way of reclaiming the festival and a way of communicating key aspects of the Christian faith in an attractive yummy

In fact, more than 72,000 eggs were sold and it was bought by thousands of people attending churches and a significant number of schools. Bulk orders ranged from 48 to 600 eggs at a time. Supermarkets Morrison’s, Waitrose, Co-op, and Booths stocked the egg across hundreds of stores as well as hundreds of independent retailers and community/church/Cathedral shops supplied by Traidcraft. According to the company, the egg sold out quickly with many supermarket customers walking past two-for-one offers to buy The Real Easter Egg. There were calls from retailers, schools and churches requesting eggs a month before Easter but the eggs had sold out. In 2011 The Real Easter Egg was endorsed by leading figures including The Archbishop of York and Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ben Kingsley and cast members of Coronation Street. It also won backing for a national competition sponsored by a Ecclesiastical Insurance.

The number of eggs has been dramatically increased for 2012 but churches, schools and Cathedral shops are being asked to make bulk orders by mid February 2012 to avoid disappointment.

Now, we don’t have to wait for Easter 2012. Last month The Meaningful Chocolate Company revealed its Meaningful Tree Decorations, an interactive chocolate gift and a new way to tell the Christmas story!

Isn’t it awful that when a crisis leaves the front pages of the newspapers we quickly forget the horrors that continue?

I have posted on Sudan and the dreadful persecution in South Kordofan. Today one of my clergy in Bradford got an email from a Christian leader in Northern Sudan and this is what he wrote:

Thanks so much for your deep love to us and your great concern for the suffering people in the those war zones. We are sorry for the loss of our brother Bishop Yusif of Port Sudan diocese: we went to Egypt for the mission consultation, he died on the second day of our meeting…

About the fighting in Blue Nile, you might not get enough information of what is really taking place there – many people losing their lives daily. In our Diocese, we have a list of 490 families, a total of 12996 people  from Blue Nile and many are coming while many are wandering in the bushes. We tried to pass information to all the humanitarian consortium NGOs, to alert them on the urgent situation in which there is clear evidence that an event of war in Blue Nile has occurred which causes human sufferings. We urge them for the emergency relief of basic needs; food, medical care, shelters, clothing, water. But not any respond to this. Its seems many do not know much of Blue Nile,
people know more of South Kordofan. There is not any help to people of Blue Nile.

Sorry for this long letter but I know your deep love to these people.

In the Diocese of Bradford we haven’t forgotten them. We are praying for them and have raised substantial funds for relief work. But, by way of such posts as this, we need to keep their plight in the public eye – and before the politicians and the media.