Christians encouraged to donate their flesh and blood

This is an interesting partnership between the NHS and various Christian denominations and bodies:

A ‘groundbreaking’ new campaign has been launched today asking the church to increase the number of blood and organ donors in the UK.  It will encourage Christians to give blood  and also sign up to be organ donors as part of their personal giving.

The Fleshandblood campaign is sponsored by and has the support of the Church of England, The Salvation Army, Methodist Church, United Reformed Church, Baptist Union, Hope and the Evangelical Alliance.

Lorna Williamson, Medical Director of NHS Blood and Transplant says, “All major faith groups support donation in the spirit of giving and we’re excited to explore this in more detail by working with the Christian church.

“By raising awareness amongst its members and community about the daily need for blood transfusions and organ transplants across the NHS, we hope to banish myths, educate people and encourage blood and organ donation. Donating blood, joining the Organ Donor Register, or consenting to organ donation from a deceased loved one is a unique gift and one that can truly save lives.”

The NHS needs 7,000 units of blood each day to meet the demand of hospitals. The need for organs also outstrips availability with more than a thousand people dying each year in the UK waiting for an organ transplant.

With millions of members across the UK, it is hoped churches take an active role in working to fill the gap.

The campaign is the first time the NHS has worked alongside the churches on a national initiative of this kind.

The Reverend Dr Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of the Methodist Church, said: “It is impossible to overstate the vital importance of blood and organ donation.

“Quite simply, without such generous sacrifices, many in Britain would not enjoy the health they have, or even survive.  Many of us know and cherish a person who’s life has been transformed through the life-giving gifts donated to them.  I believe that God calls us all to live generously with all that we are and all that we have.  Blood donation especially is a simple but precious way that many people can fulfil that calling.”

The Rt Rev James Newcome, lead bishop on healthcare for the Church of England, said: “fleshandblood is an exciting opportunity for the Church. Christians have a mandate to heal, motivated by compassion, mercy, knowledge and ability. Extending our understanding of the central Christian themes of generosity and stewardship to include blood and organ donation has the potential to tangibly transform the giver and the receiver. The benefit to others is not only life-enhancing but can mean the difference between life and death.”

This is certainly a worthwhile initiative and it is good to see bridges being built between the health service and Christian organisations that will hopefully bear much fruit and raise awareness of an important issue.  The fleshandblood website looks good and is very informative with plenty of useful information and resources that will allow churches to practically get involved and promote the campaign effectively.

(source Evangelical Alliance and Christian Today)

Categories: Church, Faith in society

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3 replies

  1. According to NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) data, as accessed by the BMA on 1st February 2012, in the UK there are about 1,000 deaths per year – or three deaths per day – because of a shortage of organs. Reading the information on the Flesh and Blood site, this new campaign appears to assume an “opt-in” system of donation as at present and as such should receive wide support.
    However, the MPA Division of the Church of England expressed reservations on other proposals for increasing donations that were put forward by NHSBT last year. We should learn more from the new strategy which the NHSBT aims to produce by April 2013.

    • Thanks David. Once again your comments add more to the story than I was aware of. It will be interesting to see how this fits with the new NHSBT strategy. I too welcome this move, as it is a valuable contribution that churches can make to society and gives another opportunity for them to bless others.


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