In a campaign dubbed “Flesh and Blood”, priests and pastors from a variety of denominations are urging their congregations to get in the spirit of Easter Week and donate blood as part of the Christian tradition of giving.
Pastor Paul Carley of Celbridge Christian Independent Penetcostal Church said that, instead of taking up the weekly offering last Sunday, he encouraged his congregation to give blood.
His Catholic counterpart Fr Paul Taylor of St Patrick’s Celbridge & St Bridgid’s Straffan, as well as Church of Ireland Rev Stephen Neil (who was instrumental in tracking US President Barack Obama’s Irish ancestors) of the parish of Celbridge & Straffan, also decided to give blood donation “a push” this week to tie in with the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) clinics currently under way in Co Kildare.
Pastor Carley said that while the churches have their own distinctive doctrines, they shared the ethos of giving to those in need.
“This is a campaign where we could all join together even though we have very distinct differences of faith,” said Pastor Carley.
“It’s also a way of making the Church more relevant.”
The pastor, who last donated blood in 1982, attended the IBTS Celbridge clinic on Wednesday and described his experience as “a dream” thanks to a nurse called Rose. “There was no pain. I didn’t faint,” he said, adding that, instead of Guinness, he had “a nice Pepsi and two Mars bars”.
“It was great, very impressive, so my advice is if you’ve never given blood, it’s a great time to start,” he said.
Donor recruitment manager at the IBTS, Aisling O’Brien, said that the IBTS was delighted to have the support of the churches “to bring real awareness of the constant need for blood donations and enable us to reach in to communities to help maintain supply to all our hospitals”.
For further details of IBTS clinics, visit www.ibts.ie and check the clinic calendar. Only 3% of the Irish population gives blood and 3,000 blood donors are needed each week.
The Flesh and Blood campaign (fleshandblood.org) began in the UK to increase the number of blood and organ donors and is now being promoted in Ireland.