Christian Solidarity Action Committee (CSAC)
United by Faith for Action
Christian communities in the Middle East are experiencing unprecedented levels of persecution, dislocation and distress that threaten their very existence. Supreme Knight Carl Anderson states “In many ways, 2017 may be the decisive year in determining whether many Christian communities throughout the Middle East will continue to exist.”
In response to the Supreme Knight’s call to action, District 18 of the Maryland State Council, Knights of Columbus have established the Christian Solidarity Action Committee (CSAC).
As Knights, we recognize the value of corporal and spiritual works of mercy. We will not stand silent in the face of injustice. We resolve to raise awareness and promote active participation in practical, effective programs and spiritual works of mercy that foster a greater solidarity with our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ.
We are committed to building solidarity with persecuted Christian communities in the Middle East—both to maintain their presence and to relieve their suffering by raising awareness and providing financial and moral support leading to effective action against the injustice of religious persecution.
- Respond to the Supreme Knight’s call to action by offering our Councils, Assemblies and Chapters direct assistance and support in planning, promoting and implementing effective programs intended to relieve the suffering of distressed Christian communities.
- Witness to the suffering of our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East, the descendants of those who first believed in Jesus Christ (Acts 2:1-11).
- Utilize the Order’s resources to raise awareness of the ongoing persecution of Christians.
- Facilitate and host opportunities to inform our membership of current events and to motivate our Councils, Assemblies and Chapters to act on behalf of persecuted Christians.
- Serve as point of contact for Councils, Assemblies and Chapters wishing to host charitable and spiritual programs in support of suffering Christian communities across the State.
- To serve as a model for other States to implement CSAC initiatives.
Programs and Activities
The Knights of Columbus’ Christian Refugee Relief Fund
The Knight’s Christian Refugee Relief Fund was created in August of 2014 in response to the overwhelming suffering experienced by Christian communities at the hands of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. To date, the Fund has delivered over 13 million dollars in direct humanitarian relief including food, medical and housing assistance. The CSAC will work to raise awareness and support for this Fund. By hosting prayer vigils, Solidarity Cross sales and events designed to raise awareness of the effectiveness of the Fund, the CSAC will develop greater support for the Order’s program to aid persecuted Christians. Many Catholics are unaware of the Knight’s http://christiansatrisk.org website that provides information, updates and resources to make tax deductible donations. Donations from Solidarity Cross sales contribute to the Christian Refugee Relief Fund. In addition, there are other ways to raise donations for the Fund including hosting an awareness dinner, prayer vigil or social evening that provides information while offering the opportunity to make donations. Make tax deductible donations http://christiansatrisk.org
Solidarity Cross Program
In 2015, the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council partnered with the HCEF to launch the Solidarity Cross program and raise funds for Middle East Christian refugees through sales of olivewood crosses produced in the Holy Land by Christian artisans. As part of the initiative, the Supreme Council has purchased over 135,000 olive wood crosses manufactured by Christian artisans in over 52 workshops. These purchases directly support over 200 Christian families in the Bethlehem area alone who struggle to maintain their livelihoods and their faith traditions. Councils purchasing Solidarity Crosses from Supreme Council have the opportunity to offer them to parishioners, council members and supporters for a suggested minimum donation of $10. The donations benefit the Knight’s Christian Refugee Relief Fund, which provides much needed food, medical aid, and housing assistance for Christians experiencing violent persecution in Iraq and Syria. We shall build on this program by promoting it statewide and expanding aid to Christian refugees to provide life-saving income for Christian families in the Holy Land.
Please visit The Knights of Columbus website to find out how you can support your Christian brothers and sisters today!
To participate, please contact the Supply Department at 203-752-4214 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holy Land Days (HLD) / Holy Land Gifts (HLG) Programs
Holy Land Days is an educational outreach program that raises awareness about the plight of Middle East Christians among Catholic churches, creating a unique opportunity for parishioners to offer their spiritual and financial support. During a HLD event, parishioners gain valuable insight into their living Christian heritage and have the opportunity to support Christian livelihoods through the purchase of authentic and unique Holy Land products. Affiliated with Holy Land Days, the Holy Land Gifts Program supports Christian families involved in the production of olive wood and mother-of-pearl religious gifts to continue their centuries-old traditions and to provide economic sustainability for their families. HLG opens international markets for these families’ products so as to offset the devastating effects of a waning tourist economy. The sale of these religious items is often their only means of support. We will expand this program by encouraging councils and assemblies to accept items provided by HCEF on consignment. A percentage of the proceeds from the sales of Holy Land Gifts remains with the Council.
Put Faith into Action
- Encourage Councils and Assemblies to join our HLD and HLG Programs and accept items provided by HCEF on consignment to sell them at Church events. Councils and Assemblies share a percentage of the proceeds from the sales of Holy Land Gifts.
- These events effectively grow Council membership by showing perspective Knights how the Knights of Columbus make a difference by what we do.
Children Education Sponsorship Program
HCEF’s Children Sponsorship Program supports Christian education for disadvantaged children, offsetting the costs of tuition and school supplies while also contributing to the continued operation of local Christian schools. The program ensures that every family who desires a Christian education for their children has access to one.
Awareness Outreach & Speakers Bureau
A key component of the effectiveness of CSAC will be raising awareness and providing information that encourages Knight’s Councils, Assemblies and Chapters to action. We will educate Catholics across the State of Maryland as to the rich Christian heritage found across the Middle East. Our events and presentations will bring together Christians and other people of goodwill to advocate on behalf of our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, allowing us to broaden our reach and carry out grassroots work that affects meaningful change where it is needed the most. As part of our activities, we will establish a speaker’s bureau intended to inform listeners and promote programs sanctioned by the Maryland State Council. Some of the events we envision include:
- CSAC Presentations at the Council, District, Assembly, Chapter and State levels
- Prayer Vigils and Social Evenings with relevant speakers
- Program Presentations at Program Seminars
- 60 Holy Land Day events held throughout Maryland in 2017
- KofC Membership Drives at Holy Land Day events
- Fund raising campaigns for Council and Assembly activates
- KofC participation in HCEF International conferences and meetings
More opportunities for activities and events will be added as the CSAC identifies additional effective programs.
A call to the Knights in the State of Maryland
Join District 18 to provide practical, effective programs and spiritual works of mercy that fosters a greater solidarity with our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ. Help us to preserve our Christian heritage in the Holy Land and across the Middle East.
For more information or how to join the Christian Solidarity Action Committee, contact us:
Joe Stewart, District Deputy #18, Joe@KofC-MD-CSAC.org
Bill Newbrough, District Warden #18 Bill@KofC-MD-CSAC.org