Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!" Proverbs 31:9 (the Message)
Prayer for Justice
You came to set men free Lord Yet men are still bound by oppression To proclaim your justice Lord But still injustice is rife in your world. You came in love but men preferred hatred You came in peace but men preferred war How shall we show the world your care Lord?
The Lord says: Where man is oppressed - proclaim my freedom. Where injustice rules - let my justice be known. Where there is violence - I give you my peace Where there is hatred - I give you my love. Lord show that you care through us your people that we might be: For freedom and against oppression For justice and against injustice For love and against hatred For love and against violence That we may follow the example of Jesus our Master. Amen
In August Mandy Marshall from Tearfund UK / Restored asked us to stand with them in prayer for the Anglican Communion meeting being held that month in DRC and Burundi. Church leaders met to discuss the implications and actions for the church of the "Silent No More" Report on sexual violence. Here follows some of the impact and feedback from this meeting – thanks Mandy and Amanda for forwarding this:
'We are perpetrators. We have allowed this to happen in our churches' said a Bishop from the DRC. It was an amazing statement to hear on day one of the workshop & launch of the Silent No More report. The Bishop's statement was one of recognition that the church by its silence had been complicit in allowing sexual violence to go unaddressed within some of the churches. It was an acceptance of responsibility.
We heard from two survivors of sexual violence who are currently receiving care and support from Tearfund partner, HEAL Africa in DRC. Their stories were ones of utter destruction by gangs of men. It was heart-breaking and devastating to hear. Bishops began to cry. There was silence.
48 women an hour are raped in the DRC according to the American Journal of Public Health. Statistics can act as a deflection from the reality of the pain each individual endures. The two survivors brought a sharp, painful, reality to the statistics.
There was strong leadership and opening addresses from both the Archbishop of Burundi & Rwanda who were determined to speak out and be silent no more about sexual violence & to restore the dignity and respect of women and girls. The Archbishop of Burundi reiterated that 'men & women are equal before God' & that 'when men use women as tools for sex we misuse the image of God.' The Archbishop of Rwanda focused of the need 'to open our eyes & see the what is going on, as gender based violence is a reality within our communities.' Adding that 'the church needs to fight and denounce gender based violence.'
In Burundi we also heard from a survivor of violence who broke down in the middle of her story. It was hard to hear yet crucial to hear the voices of those who have been silent for so long.
Here too in Burundi, with Rwanda, we saw a real determination to make a difference, to move forward, to address the issue from within the church. preliminary action plans were developed around leadership, equipping the church, working in partnership with others, addressing stigma & discrimination, behaviour change & creating a safe environment.
The meeting in Burundi ended with a march through central Bujumbura to break the silence. Both Archbishops and the Bishops joined together with others in wearing white t-shirts and caps stating 'We will speak out on sexual violence' and 'silent no more' on the caps. A band went ahead creating noise and attention as we marched together in solidarity for the church speaking out on sexual violence.
Thank you for praying for these key meetings and being a part of God's big plan. It is crucial to ground all of what we do in prayer, listening for God's guidance and direction. Thank you for playing your part in this via prayer. It is very much valued and appreciated.
We are at the start of this process, recognising that we and the church have much to learn from those that have gone before us in addressing sexual violence. Bishops need to develop actions plans, funding needs to be gained, hearts changed, survivors finding comfort, healing & support.
Please do continue to pray remembering always the survivors and victims of violence.
We are struggling – please stand with us - Togo
Association des Amis des Enfants (AAE) is an organisation based in Togo. They joined Micah Network in August 2010 and have a ministry with orphans and vulnerable groups in Togo. Ayokassia Kpatare is the coordinator and has been sharing the struggles AAE have been facing.
Please pray and stand with them:
- The young lives that have been entrusted into their care, that they can be there for them and help build a future together with the
- The mobilisation of the church in Togo to be a partner and supporter of this work
- For the protection of the vulnerable children in Togo
- For AAE to be able to work with partners to meet the needs identified and that God would give them the strength and means to maintain this important work.
See the possibilities with God – Famine Crisis
Kurkura Wafo who works with the Kale Heywet Church in Ethiopia reminds us of the verses from Matthew 26 and Mark 18:27 which says that what is impossible with men is possible with God.
With this in mind we are encouraged to pray for:
The Horn of Africa famine, which is stretching into Ethiopia, Somalia and North Kenya. Over 4.5 million are needing food each day – we need to offer our loves and fish so God can multiply.
The Disaster Management consultation for the famine crisis on the 16th and 17th September in Nairobi looked at cooperation and holistic impact as we respond together. Please pray that this initial meeting will blossom into a more in-depth cooperation and learning so that out joint response will have a far greater impact.
Brief Points to continue bringing before God
1. Asia Regional Consultation on 17th to 21st October in Sri Lanka – life changing impact.
2. October 16th: Micah Sunday– please pray that church around the world will mobilise and raise awareness of poverty issues and our responsibility to engage in holding our governments to account for the promises to reduce extreme poverty by 2012. Have you join the Micah Challenge campaign?
3. Zambia integral mission conversation and reconciliation workshop: 15th to 17th November – please pray for the preparation and impact of this gathering.
To continue to share in these prayer focus, please send your input to: [email protected] by Thursday each week.