Small miracles, big celebrations

Today, the Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) iscelebrating 21 years of 'small miracles', made possible by itspartner organisations overseas and the generosity of Methodistpeople in the UK. MRDF campaigns for justice and supports small,locally-based projects in more than 20 of the world's poorestcountries.

New President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd. Graham Carter,marked the event by blowing out the candles on a 'virtual' birthdaycake. Hundreds of Conference representatives then shared in a giantchocolate cake, made with Fairtrade ingredients.

Graham said: 'Over the last 21 years MRDF has shown that smallorganisations can make a huge difference. We're here to celebratethat even small changes to the lives of the poorest of poor have animpact which can be nothing short of miraculous.'

MRDF also launched its new Small Miracles Harvest Pack, whichincludes a Fairtrade birthday cake recipe, devised by celebritychef Jane Asher. It is hoped that hundreds of churches and groupsacross the UK will hold special services and fundraising activitiesto mark MRDF's birthday at Harvest time. The free pack provideseverything you need to celebrate Harvest with MRDF, includingactivities, posters, worship materials and stories of 'smallmiracles' in Nepal, Ethiopia and Cameroon.

Conference representatives each received an identity card onarrival, encouraging them to find out more about an individualwhose life has been turned around by MRDF partners. A successfulharvest for someone like Radika, who features on one of the'identity cards', has been life-changing. In a country like Nepal,where 30% of people live in poverty, it means that she now hasenough to eat, an improved income and an increased chance of beingable to send her children to school. Agriculture training from MRDFpartners has made all of this possible.

MRDF also has a newly designed website for its 21st birthday. AllSmall Miracles Harvest resources are fully downloadable from thenew site and it provides an up-to-date, comprehensive and upliftingoverview of MRDF's work.

MRDF's Director, Kirsty Smith said: 'This celebration is not somuch about the charity itself, but about the lives and futures thathave been transformed through the work of our partnerorganisations. This is an opportunity to see how much has beenachieved in just 21 years, but it isn't the end of the story. Withthe help of our UK supporters, we need to continue bringing hope topeople in desperate situations.'