It is with great pleasure that I present the 2020/21 Annual Report
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our many donors and supporters for their unfailing generosity throughout this past year.
For ABM, as for everyone, this has been a year marked by uncertainty and by significant political, social and economic challenges. COVID-19 has impacted all parts of our work and has required additional resources for our partners who work in contexts where the pandemic has exposed great vulnerability. In Myanmar, where we have worked with the Church of the Province of Myanmar for many years, the military coup and the resulting political turmoil has impeded not only the response to COVID-19 but also other essential social development activities.
During the year ABM continued its special appeal to assist our partners during these unprecedented times. Thanks to the ongoing support from ABM’s donors, who responded most generously, and the willingness of the Australian Government Aid Program to be flexible with their funding, we have been able to support most of the partner requests.
Many provided basic education about the virus and vaccination, as well as vital hygiene messages and handwashing equipment to remote communities. Some provided emergency food when lockdowns and travel restrictions prevented people going to market. These responses are ongoing, and I ask you to continue to keep our partners and their communities in your prayers.
While the direct impact of COVID-19 in most places can now be seen fairly clearly, the indirect consequences are harder to measure. Most programs have slowed as implementation and the acquitting of funds have been delayed. The design of new activities and the monitoring and evaluation of existing ones have also been adversely affected. Yet, in the midst of these challenges, our partners have continued to display enormous resilience and resourcefulness, and their work with and for all of God’s people has remained a source of joy and hope.
Although the proposed celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Coming of the Light to the Torres Strait was impacted by the restrictions on travel, the response to ABM’s Lenten study, ‘God was on Both Sides of the Beach’, was most heartening. However, it did also serve as a timely reminder that our journey towards reconciliation is an ongoing one.
In Australia, ABM staff have generally worked remotely throughout the year. While the proverbial silver lining has not always been easy to discern in respect of COVID-19, it has been pleasing to see how the challenges have begun to generate new and more effective ways of engaging with our supporters and other stakeholders.
It is also important to note that ABM was blessed during the year with several significant bequests which will help us to strengthen the work we do with partners, both in Australia and overseas and ensure that it will continue into the future.
As always, our work would not be possible without our staff, volunteers and partners, so I am thankful for all their efforts. I commend the report and continue to ask for your prayers and support for ABM’s work.
Yours in Christ,
The Rev Dr John Deane