Christians asked to give blood
Christians are being encouraged to make a different kind of offering this week and donate their blood.
The call is going out as part of National Blood Week and follows on from the launch of the Flesh and Blood campaign that launched in February. As part of the campaign, the church is being called upon to encourage Christians to become blood donors.
Research carried out for the campaign revealed strong support among Christians for giving blood. More than two thirds of those surveyed (70%) said they regarded blood or organ donation to be part of their core 'Christian giving' or were open to the idea, while almost one in 10 Christians had given blood in the last year - higher than the national UK average of 4% over the last two years.
The campaign aims not only to attract more first time donors but also to encourage those who have donated before to do so again.
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 with the Christian church.
"By raising awareness amongst its members and community about the daily need for blood transfusion we hope to banish myths, educate people and encourage blood donation."
Supporters of the campaign include the Evangelical Alliance, The Salvation Army and the Diocese of Worcester.
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The diocese tweeted, "This week is National Blood Week. You know what to do."
The Salvation Army tweeted: "Today is the start of National Blood Week. Register, donate or volunteer your venue."
Lt Col Ian Barr, Secretary for Programme at The Salvation Army, shared the personal impact of blood donation on his life in an interview for the campaign.
"I used to teach Christian doctrine and I remember teaching many times that 'the life is in the blood'. It hadn't really struck me until I had two units of blood to allow me to come out of hospital last September," he said.
"I went from being an invalid in bed, just about able to function, to coming out of hospital and resuming the holiday that had been interrupted and really enjoying it. It meant a great deal to be able to sense that someone else's blood had made such a huge change to how I felt about myself, my outlook and my sense of wellbeing."
Churches and individuals are being encouraged to sign up at www.fleshandblood.org/bloodweek or together as a community on Sunday by texting 'FAB BLOOD' to 62323. Churches can also offer their buildings as potential new blood donor sites for NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).