David Penman and his family served faithfully in Pakistan and Lebanon doing pastoral work for 10 years. They returned to Australia in 1976 with a deep appreciation for the people they worked alongside and an understanding of their needs, particularly in places where disasters and humanitarian emergencies were impacting people’s wellbeing and livelihood.
Appointed Archbishop of Melbourne in 1984, David soon identified that Anglicans in Melbourne needed a way to support Anglican churches and organisations around the world that were impacted by disasters and emergencies. In 1988 he established the Archbishop of Melbourne’s International Relief and Development Fund as a way for churches to provide support ‘in a unique way, building on personal contacts’. And support they did, with an enormous response to the HIV epidemic in Africa in the 1990s, the Rwandan genocide in 1994 and the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004.
Impact continued to grow over the years, initially through the tireless efforts and deep commitment of volunteers, before transitioning to a small, dedicated staff team. Over the years our name changed to Anglicord and now Anglican Overseas Aid. Importantly, our supporter base has grown to engage Anglicans Australia-wide. We are committed to our international partners and connected with our Australian supporters: our impact is amplified when we each play our part. Indeed, the thread throughout our 35-year history has been our commitment to be good global neighbours.