Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Season of Prayer III & IV

Presiding Bishop calls for a Season of Prayer

The Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has called for a season of prayer for regions of the Anglican Communion which are experiencing violence and civil strife. “In this season of Resurrection, I call on everyone to pray for our brothers and sisters in areas where there is much burden and little hope,” the Presiding Bishop said.

Citing Galatians 6:2 - Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ

Presiding Bishop Curry called for prayer throughout the holy season of Easter. Beginning on April 3, the First Sunday of Easter, and proceeding through Pentecost May 15, The Episcopal Church is asked to pray for a particular province or region: Burundi, Central America, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Middle East, Pakistan and South Sudan.

The Episcopal Church’s Middle East Partnership Officer the Rev. Canon Robert Edmunds shares a reflection this week:

“Not a day goes by without news of violence from somewhere in the Middle East. Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank are all locations seared into our minds. Hundreds of thousands are dead and something above four million human beings are refugees in foreign lands and tens of thousands more are identified as “internally displaced persons.” The horror of barrel bombs, IEDs, knife attacks, brutality at borders, house demolitions, and the de-humanizing impact of occupation by military forces of civilian areas are painfully commonplace. Christian churches are desecrated and others destroyed. Innocent men, women, and children are lost to the violence every day. Muslim, Christian, and Jewish families grieve, each in their own neighborhoods or far from their homes.

In this same region is the Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. Anglican Christians throughout the region continue to hope, work, and pray for peace in their respective homelands and for their neighbors. Education, health programs, and pastoral care for one another and those who seek help, both locally and from afar, benefit from the compassionate efforts of indigenous Christians whose faith is rooted in the Anglican tradition.

A Prayer for Peace: O Holy One, we know that violence between your children is not according to your will and we pray that you will help and guide all the peoples of the Middle East who are caught in the violence find both justice and reconciliation. We pray for open hearts for all sides to listen and work for peace. We pray for a change of heart for everyone involved in this struggle that they will realize that solutions to this conflict are to be found in negotiations and not weapons. We ask also for safety for our fellow Christians in the Holy Land that they may continue to serve as living representatives of your Son in the land of his earthly birth. We ask all this in His Name, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

The Anglican Church of Congo (Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo) was established in 1896 but remained part of the Church of Uganda until 1980. Today the Province includes nine dioceses and focuses its ministries on evangelism, education, social development and well-being, and reconciliation.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has seen decades of violent conflict and bloodshed. From 1997 to 2003, a brutal civil war raged throughout the country and saw troops from a number of neighboring countries participate in the fighting. In the years since the official cessation of that war, armed conflict has continued to be a part of the daily life for many Congolese citizens, particularly in eastern Congo. In the midst of this reality, the Anglican Church of Congo works to improve the daily life in communities across the country. It has embraced an asset-based development approach in its ministries and addresses physical, emotional, and spiritual needs through programs focusing on HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and gender-based violence. The Church also has a special ministry for women who have been victims of sexual violence during the years of conflict.

The Anglican Church in Congo participates in an ecumenical Great Lakes peace campaign along with neighboring countries and churches, including Burundi and Rwanda. In 2015, the Province organized peace, justice, and reconciliation-themed events ranging from cultural activities and workshops to soccer matches. 2016 brings new tensions surrounding the upcoming presidential election. The Anglican Church of Congo plans to continue their public witness about the importance of peacebuilding across the country.

A Prayer for Peace: Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer, p. 815)

No comments: