Call to prayer for people of Syria
As the situation in Syria continues to be very serious and tragic, partners and churches throughout the country ask us to hold them in our prayers. The church leaders in Syria have issued two statements since the crisis began: commenting on the situation and calling for prayer.
In a recent letter to friends worldwide, the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo, Mar Gregorios wrote:
In general, there are 4 main scenarios surrounding Syria. The first one is that nobody can guess or imagine what will happen in the country within the coming days or weeks. This is a very dangerous scenario. The second is the foreign interference, which means that, indirectly, Syria will be controlled by new forces. The third scenario is civil war, and here everybody is worried about how long this war could still last, who the parties are, or how the weapons would enter the country… and at the same time, we keep thinking: is Syria another Lebanon after 1975? The fourth and last scenario is the division of the country, which is the worst. …
What we really need today from you is moral support, and continuation of prayers for the stability and tranquility of Syria. Our Archbishop of Homs told me, last night, that half of the Christian families in Homs have left the city, but they are, still, in other cities and villages in Syria. Nobody has yet left the country, maybe because the US, European and some Arab Embassies have already closed, so people cannot get a visa to travel anywhere. [We are] hopeful [for] changes for the good: stability and tranquility.
In the meantime, let us all we pray for better future and hope for peace.
According to one journalist, an expert on Syria, “the situation is today one of increased violence by both sides, of sectarian polarization, and of a dangerous stalemate, slipping each day closer to a full-blown sectarian civil war.” This is indeed troublesome commentary.
This week, the World Council of Churches' Executive Committee sent a letter of solidarity to the churches of Syria. In the letter they condemned "the use of any type of violence" while encouraging their members "not to fear and not to lose hope".
We know that there are already more than 25,000 Syrians who have registered with the UNHCR as refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, but that is surely not the whole number. The number of internally displaced is certainly quite high as well.
Through our partners and Global Ministries, the UCC and Disciples have already responded to some of the expressed needs, and will continue to do so. Your contributions to One Great Hour of Sharing (UCC) and the Week of Compassion (Disciples) make possible emergency response throughout the year and throughout the world.
Update (Feb. 28): Syria in the News and UCC/CWS response.
In the midst of a crisis for which no end appears imminent, please join in prayer for peace for all the people of Syria.