Weekly Prayers

Pray for Zimbabwe, Sunday June 22, 2008

Prayer and Action for Zimbabwe

Lectionary Text and Prayers for Zimbabwe: Matthew 10:24-39

Loving God, as we pray today we want to focus our thoughts on the work of the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) based in Geneva, Switzerland. We thank you for the continued support and advocacy of the international community to members of the WSCF in crises such as those suffering in Zimbabwe today. We thank you for the spirit of compassion that unites us.

We pray for the political situation in Zimbabwe that it may be resolved quickly and peacefully.

We pray that state officials will act out of compassion and understanding throughout this process, and not out of self-promotion and domination.

We pray that in the face of intimidation and violence people will remain firm in the truth of their convictions and will continue to vote their real desires in the re-election on June 27th.

We pray for courage and strength for the people of Zimbabwe as they face their current challenges. We know that anyone who opposes the dominant political force is under great risk, and we ask you to please keep them safe.

We pray that the Church in Zimbabwe will remain faithful to minister the Gospel in a dangerous atmosphere.

We pray for wisdom for retaining security and safety of women, children and men in Zimbabwe.

We pray for the struggles of young people who are used by corrupt politicians to advance their own needs.

We pray that the needed change must surely come through God's own way. Help us all to sow seeds of peace with justice at this time.

We ask this of you Great God of overflowing creative energy, Jesus of vast compassion, and Holy Spirit who turns chaos into life enhancing wholesomeness.

Amen

(by Varsha Vijayakumar, based on prayers by the World YWCA for A Day of Prayer for Zimbabwe on April 28th).

Global Ministries International Partners in Switzerland:  

Global Ministries Missionary in Switzerland:  

Varsha Vijayakumar, a member of Olmsted Community Church, United Church of Christ, Olmsted Falls, Ohio, is serving a one-year term with the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) in Geneva, Switzerland. She is a human rights and solidarity Global Mission Intern.

Prayer and Action for Zimbabwe

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Pray for South Africa, Sunday June 15, 2008

Lectionary Text and Prayers for South Africa: Matthew 9:35 to 10:8

God of love and compassion, we ask you to bless the rich diversity of South Africa—a land rich in resources, land, and people.  Yet we lament that in the midst of this beautiful country it is also riddled with crime, rape, violence, poverty, unemployment, an AIDS pandemic, and recently xenophobia.  There is much to be done to heal the nation.  Call forth new labourers, O God.  Commission new compassionate leaders who will cure the sick, raise-up those dead in poverty, cleanse those with HIV and AIDS, and cast out the demons of hatred towards one another.  We pray for our refugee neighbours from Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of the Congo who fear they will be the next victims of xenophobia. We pray for the AIDS orphans who are deprived of their most basic needs and will never know what it means to have parents.  In Jesus' name. Amen.

(Prayer by Susan Valiquette and Scott Couper)

Global Ministries International Partners in South Africa:

  • South African Council of Churches: This council consists of the joint work of 26 member churches.  The SACC focuses its ministry on social justice, the integrity of creation, and the alleviation of poverty.
  • Theological Education by Extension College: This college, supported by nine member churches, helps prepare students for ministry, whether lay or ordained.  The college is ecumenical and students come from Catholic, Anglican, Reformed, and African Independent backgrounds.
  • United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) – South Africa Synod:  The UCCSA - South African Synod consists of over 250 churches, divided into 11 regions.  Within the Synod one can find many different cultures and languages, making the SA Synod an example of reconciliation in the new South Africa.

Global Ministries Missionaries in South Africa:

Jonathan and Dawn Barnes are missionaries with the Kei Regional Council of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa, South Africa.  They serve as development officers in the Kei region of the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Scott Couper and Susan Valiquette are missionaries serving in South Africa.  Susan serves as the Chaplain of Inanda Seminary (Secondary school of the UCCSA).  Scott is the HIV and AIDS coordinator for UCCSA kwaZulu Natal Region and serves as the pastor of Bethel UCCSA church.

Carla Giger is a Global Mission Intern (funded by Week of Compassion) serving with the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa as an Assistant Program Coordinator. She works on the Girls Against the Spread of Aids (GASA) program.

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Pray for Ecuador on Sunday, June 8, 2008

Lectionary Text and Prayers for Ecuador: Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26

 

God who desires mercy, not sacrifice, we thank you for the work of our partners in Ecuador. We ask you to continue to empower them as they seek to reach out to the marginalized and the poorest of the poor as Jesus did throughout his ministry. We are grateful for those who have served you in Ecuador on behalf of the Disciples and UCC throughout the years. We think especially of Victor and Violet Vaca and we pray for Victor as he continues to grieve the passing of Violet. We thank you for those in our two denominations that walk closely with our partners in Ecuador, especially the Illinois South Conference and the Oregon Region. We ask your blessing on these partnership relationships. Amen

 

Illinois South Conference partnership

 

Oregon Region partnership

 

(Prayer by Bob Shebeck)

 

Global Ministries International Partners in Ecuador:

  • Centro Integral de la Familia (CIF)
  • Confraternidad Evangelica Ecuatoriana
  • Consejo de Pueblos y Organizaciones Indigenas Evangelicas del Ecuador (FEINE)
  • Fundacion Ecumenica Para el Desarrollo Integral Capacitacion-Education (FEDICE)
  • Iglesia Evangelica Unida delEcuador (IEUE)
  • La Asociacion Latinoamericana de Asesoramiento y Pastoral Familiar (EIRENE)

Global Ministries Missionary in Ecuador:

 

None at the present time

 

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Pray for Mozambique on Sunday, June 1, 2008

Lectionary Text and Prayers for Mozambique: Matthew 7:21-29

God, we thank you for our partners in Mozambique who are rebuilding their communities on a solid foundation after many years of civil war. We thank you for their commitment to peace with justice as they turn weapons of war into works of art. We pray for the work of the church as it reaches out to all and seeks to do your will. We pray particularly for the development of leaders who will put the words of Jesus into practice as they carry out their ministries. Amen

(Prayer Bob Shebeck)

Global Ministries International Partners in Mozambique:

  • Christian Council of Mozambique: Christian Council of Mozambique is a Church based organization formed in 1948 by the main line churches like the Methodist, Anglicans and Presbyterians. Presently it constituted 22 different denominations both main line as well as small denominations including two Associations (The Bible Society and the Scripture Union). CCM works countrywide with offices in each province and in some districts, administrative posts and localities. 
  • Mozambique Synod - United Congregational Church of Southern Africa:  The Mozambique Synod is one of five synods comprising the United Congregational church in Southern Africa.  Its office is located in Maputo.  The synod is engaged in ministry in various districts throughout the country.  In recent years, the country has suffered from many natural disasters and the synod has been in the forefront trying to alleviate some of the suffering.  It has constructed new homes for the homeless and cared for hundreds of children.
  • Ricatla United Seminary: The United Seminary of Ricatla is an ecumenical theological institution in Maputo. It was founded in 1958 by a group of Protestant churches committed to creating a school where ministers can receive cross denominational training in an ecumenical setting.  The United Seminary of Ricatla has since graduated hundreds of ministers, both male and female, who have gone on to work in a variety of churches throughout the country. The ecumenical mission of the United Seminary of Ricatla is demonstrated in its practice of requiring students to complete their practical training in three denominations besides their own.  The Seminary also offers exchange programs and accepts students from outside Mozambique.  In addition to being respected for its theological training, the Seminary is well respected for the leadership and spirit of unity and understanding its graduates provide both among churches and in the communities in Mozambique.
  • United Church of Christ in Mozambique:  The UCC in Mozambique was founded in 1905. It is made up of 56 congregations with 20 ordained ministers. It has around 10,000 members.

Global Ministries Missionary in Mozambique:

None at the present time 

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Pray for China on Sunday, May 25, 2008

Lectionary Text and Prayers for China: Matthew 6:24-34

Loving God, there are many today in China who lack food, water, clothing and shelter because of the earthquake. As the Chinese observe 3 days of national mourning, we ask you to wrap your loving arms around your children in this part of the world. May the aid that is needed for each one in need arrive as soon as possible. We pray for the relief efforts of our partners in China, the Amity Foundation and the China Christian Council. May their work and the work of so many others, provide for the needs of those who are worried about how they will make it tomorrow. May the justice and compassion of your Realm be seen in and through the response of your people. Amen

(Prayer by Bob Shebeck)

Global Ministries International Partners in China:

Global Ministries Personnel  in China:

Tom Morse serves with the Amity Foundation as an English Teacher.

Doreen and Michael McFarlane are professors at Nanjing Seminary

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Pray for Myanmar (Burma) on Sunday, May 18, 2008

Lectionary Text and Prayer for Myanmar: Matthew 28:16-20

God we thank you for this promise that Jesus has left us: "And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." We pray particularly for the people of Myanmar and ask that the presence of the Risen Christ would be made know in the relief and rebuilding efforts currently being carried out. We ask that you might empower our partners in their response to this difficult situation. May they sense your presence at their side. Amen

Update on Cyclone recovery
Getting Aid to Myanmar
UCC Myanmar appeal
Eyewitness account of Cyclone

Global Ministries International Partners:

  • The Myanmar Council of Churches is a Global Ministries Partner. However, it is difficult to participate in projects in Myanmar under the current military regime.

Global Ministries Missionary:

None at the present time

 

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Pray for Japan on Sunday, May 10, 2008

Lectionary Text and Prayers for Japan: John 20:19-23

God we thank you for your promise of peace and the gift of the Spirit for doing mission in your world today. As we pray for Japan today, we ask that you migh enable the Japanese church to continue it's faithful and creative witness to the Risen Christ. We also ask you to continue to teach us what it means to walk in solidarity with them as they carry out your mission. We…

  • Pray for migrant workers and their families in Japan, who work hard to make ends meet and to send part of their pay back to their families in impoverished countries.
  • Pray For the victims of human trafficking all over the world. Japan and the United States are two major countries to which people (especially women) are trafficked. Help us God that we  work together to bring an end to this modern form of slavery.
  • Pray that the witness of Ariticle 9 of Japan's Peace Constitution will grow. That the Japanese people and government will see that the Peace Constitution is a gift to the world,  and that Japan can take a lead in furthering non-military means to resolve conflicts, which is what is most needed in our broken world.
  • Pray for the Christian church in Japan, which though small, continues to preach the Good News in this secular society.
  • Pray for small ministries such as the Bazaar Café, the Emmaus Center, and many social service organizations rooted in the Christian church, that they may continue to serve the most needy and the lonely.  Amen

(Prayer by Martha Mensendiek)

Global Ministries International Partners in Japan:

  • Doshisha University: http://www.doshisha.ac.jp/english/ Martha Mensendiek is a teacher of Social Welfare at Doshisha University, Kyoto. Casilda Luzares teaches English.
  • Asian Rural Institute: The mission of the Asian Rural Institute (ARI) is to build an environmentally healthy, just, and peaceful world, in which each person can live to his or her fullest potential. This mission is rooted in the love of Jesus Christ. To carry out this mission, ARI trains and nurtures rural leaders for a life of sharing. Leaders, both women and men, who live and work in grassroots rural communities primarily in Asia, Africa and the Pacific form a community of learning each year together with staff and other residents. Through community-based learning they study the best ways for rural people to share and enhance local resources and abilities for the common good. 
  • Emmaus Center: Rev. Jeffrey Mensendiek works as the Director of youth ministries at the Emmaus Center, Northeast Conference of United Church of Christ in Japan, based in Sendai, Japan. Ms. Sandra Lee-Takei works as a global mission Intern at the Emmaus Center as the assistant to the Director of youth ministries. 
  • Kobe College: http://www.kobe-c.ac.jp/ekc/index.html
  • Korean Christian Church in Japan: http://www.kccj.net/
  • Miyagi Gakuin Women's University
  • National Christian Council of Japan: http://ncc-j.org/english/profile.htm
  • Tohoku Gakuin University
  • Unite Church of Christ in Japan

Global Ministries Missionaries in Japan:

Sandra Lee-Takei serves as a Global Mission Intern at the Emmaus Center.

Casilda Luzares teaches English at Doshisha University and is involved in pastoral ministries to migrant workers from the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand.

Martha Mensendiek teaches Social Welfare at Doshisha University. She is also involved in the YWCA hotline and counseling service for migrant workers, and the Bazaar Cafe, a coffee house ministry of the Kyoto Conference of the United Church of Christ.

Jeffrey Mensendiek serves and the Director of youth ministries at the Emmaus Center. 

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Pray for Timor Leste/East Timor on Sunday, May 4, 2008

Lectionary Text and Prayers for Timor Leste: John 17:1-11

Almighty God, whose will be done in this part of our small world, please continue to endow the Timorese your wisdom in leadership of your followers; as servant leaders as Jesus did instead of being focused on position and power. We know this can be done only with the Holy Spirit working within them in changing values, perceptions and attitudes attuned to your will. Let them continue contributing to the positive development of this new nation through its existing ministries in rehabilitation, socioeconomic development and educational concerns both at the secondary and college levels because they are focused mostly on the underprivileged in their society. We pray that peace will continue so that change can be realized to strength this nation and its people. Also, we pray for the current leadership not only in the Protestant Churches of East Timor (IPTL) and its foundations and related bodies but the whole country itself. We ask that they not be distracted in pursuit of the general welfare of your people. We know God that only through you can positive change take place. Finally, we pray that there would be a successful transition of leadership in IPTL this coming July 2008. In Jesus name. Amen.

(Prayer by Carlos Madrazo)

Global Ministries International Partners in Timor Leste:

  • Protestant Churches of East Timor (IPTL): represents the Reform Churches presence in a predominantly Roman Catholic country in Southeast Asia. When Timor Leste gained United Nation's recognition in 2002 through a referendum, more than half of IPTL members were Indonesian civil servants and members of the military left. What used to be 17,000 member church had more than half of its supporters gone. Likewise, more than half of its ordained pastors left for Indonesia and/or Australia. The main front line workers that sustain the Christian fellowship in rural areas are the evangelists assisted by barely 17 ordained clergy; a few of whom are doing part-time jobs. The exact number of IPTL members remains unknown. During the first or second week of July every four years, IPTL holds its General Assembly. This coming July 2008, there will be change of leadership. IPTL besides being Global Ministries' covenanted partner in this tropic oasis is fully committed to and engaged in spiritual, educational and socio-economic rehabilitation of their young country. It has now three church-related bodies that tend to the more specialized ministries namely, the Foundation for Social Light (HUSONA) for rehabilitation and development (1979), Didache Foundation (DIDACHE) (2007) for the Lisa Dila Vocational Junior High School and the International Christian University Timor (ICUT, 2007) and Universidade Communidade Matebian (UCM, 2002) for higher education concerns where it hopes to establish its own school of divinity to train more rural pastors.. IPTL also collaborates with the Ministries of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), Asian Federation of Student Christian Movement as well as the Federation of Asian Women's' Ministries. IPTL has made fraternal relationships with neighboring Christian churches in  Australia and Indonesia. As of this writing, IPTL is spearheading the formation of a National Council of Church for Timor Leste. IPTL is a member of WCC (World Council of Churches) and WARC (World Association of Reformed Churches).

Global Ministries Missionary in Timor Timor Leste:

Carlos Madrazo began serving in 2007 as an institutional capacity building advisor to IPTL, Didache Foundation and ICUT.

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Pray for Colombia on Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lectionary Text and Prayers for Colombia: John 14:15-12

 

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.

On April 27 and 28 churches all over Colombia, the United States and Canada will be praying (prayer and worship resources at http://peaceincolombia.org/prayerday08.htm) and acting (ideas for action at: http://peaceincolombia.org/actionday08.htm) for peace in Colombia, as part of the annual Days of Prayer and Action for Peace in Colombia. The Commission for Restoration, Life and Peace (CRVP) of the Evangelical Council of Colombia (the Global Ministries partner organization in Colombia) has asked us to join in this important effort. CRVP Coordinator Ricardo Esquivia writes: It is the prophetic message, just prayer and active solidarity that enables the Word to become flesh amongst us, realizing God's plan for abundant life. God's power is here, it is active, and it is within God's people. But just as seeds need water to sprout, Christians require prophecy and prayer to free their power. It is time to clamor, to prophesy, to pray and to act!

Prayer:

Gracious God of Peace, we pray for the millions of innocent victims of Colombia's civil war; may they know peace, may they experience justice. We pray for the Colombian conflict to be solved through peaceful political negotiation, for guns to be silenced, hearts to be softened and wounds to be healed. We also ask for wisdom and courage as we discern how best to act for peace. May our sisters and brothers in Colombia feel our prayers and see our actions this week. Thank you for sending us an advocate for times such as these. Amen.

(Prayer by Michael Joseph)

Global Ministries International Partner in Colombia:

  • CEDECOL – The Council of Evangelical Churches of Colombia. Global Ministries partners closely with the Restoration, Life and Peace Commission and the Christian Women's Network for Life and Peace.

Global Ministries Missionary in Colombia:

Michael Joseph serves in Colombia with the Restoration, Life and Peace Commission of the Council of Evangelical Churches (CEDECOL), including the Christian Women's Network for Life and Peace. He is providing a pastoral critical presence to church and lay leaders who are living in life-threatening situations.

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Pray for Zimbabwe on Sunday, April 13, 2008

ImageLectionary Text and Prayers for Zimbabwe: John 10:1-10

Loving Shepherd God, we ask you to wrap your embrace around the people of Zimbabwe today. During this time of political uncertainty after the presidential elections, help leaders in all sectors of public life to hear your voice of peace with justice. We pray particularly for the church in Zimbabwe and our Global Ministries partners there. We ask that you might give them courage in their witness to the fullness of life which Jesus wants all to experience in his name. Amen

(Prayer by Bob Shebeck)

Global Ministries International Partners in Zimbabwe:

  • Christian Care: Christian Care was formed in 1967 by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches tasked to improve the quality of life of the disadvantaged, including refugees.  As an arm of the church Christian Care is called to witness the presence of God among the poor and disadvantaged who are burdened by oppression, poverty, ill health, lack of freedom or knowledge to make sustainable life-supporting choices.

    Before Zimbabwe's political independence in 1980, Christian Care was concerned with relief of families of political prisoners and the prisoners themselves.  This program reached out to about 5000 people.  Other relief program included drought relief, special emergencies, an essential service for people displaced by escalating war which peaked around 1975 with the establishment of protected/consolidated villages.

    Shortly after independence, Christian Care was heavily involved in post war reconstruction.  In 1985 the organization broadened its mandate to include rural development.  Projects to date have included disaster relief programs, dam construction and irrigation development, integrated rural development programs, water and sanitation, livestock restocking, HIV/AIDS, gender, advocacy and income generating projects.
  • United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe: The United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe (UCCZ) was founded in 1893 by the American Board of Foreign Missions, predecessor mission program of the United Church of Christ.  Global Ministries works closely with this partner church in the many facets of its ministry in Zimbabwe.  The denominational membership today is approximately 30,000 people in 47 churches and several preaching points and worship groups.  The UCCZ has worked ecumenically on important efforts in Zimbabwe and is responsible for many schools and several health institutions in the country.

    The church's mission is to promote Christian living and to relate humankind to the larger body of Christ through teaching, healing, stewardship, preaching, and farming.  The church revolves around the core values of hard work and self-reliance, and works to eradicate poverty and disease through technical and vocational life skills training for survival, and integrated participatory community-based development.
  • Zimbabwe Council of Churches: The Zimbabwe Council of Churches has been in partnership with Global Ministries since 1964.  The council has twenty member churches, nine associate member churches, and two observer members.  The Zimbabwe Council of Churches' mission is to meet the needs of their communities, proclaim the gospel, develop their capacity to be self-sustaining, and to speak with one voice on issues of national interest.
  • Zimbabwe Synod-UCCSA: The Zimbabwe Synod is one of five synods comprising the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa.  It is located in Bulawayo with congregations and schools throughout Matabeleland. The church's greatest constraint is the economic and political situation prevailing throughout the country.  As a result of this situation, ordinary Zimbabweans suffer greatly.  The migration of the youth and other members of the work force is taking its toll on the church and communities where the churches are located.
  • United Theological College, Harare: United Theological College is an interdenominational institution whose purpose is to train quality pastors and teachers of the Christian gospel for churches in Zimbabwe and the region.  The College seeks to prepare students to understand and articulate the Bible's transforming holistic and prophetic message to individuals, families, groups and society at large.  The college recruits qualified and experienced Christian lecturers who are committed to excellence in teaching and research.

    United Theological College is the largest ecumenical theological training school in Zimbabwe run by seven participating churches namely:  Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe, United Congregational Church in Southern Africa, Uniting Presbyterian Church and African Methodist Episcopal church.  United Theological College (UTC) was founded in 1954 as an institution of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, situated on part of the Epworth Mission Farm and named Epworth College.  It became an Ecumenical Protestant Seminary in 1955 when the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe,  The United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe, the Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa and the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (therein called the participating churches) resolved to co-operate in sponsoring the college for the training of pastors and other church workers.  In 1976 the name was changed to United Theological College. 

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