Partners in Iraq: Please pray for us! (Updated)
Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, violence against Christian churches has continued. Yesterday’s attack on one of the largest Catholic churches in Baghdad was another in the continuing violence directed at the Christian community there. The tragic denouement at Our Lady of Salvation Syriac Catholic Church was the worst of its kind so far, and one that has perpetuated in Christians of all denominations and communities their concerns and fears over an unsettled and unstable homeland. A new set of attacks took place on Wednesday.
The World Council of Churches, of which the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) are members, issued a condemnation of the killings, as did the Middle East Council of Churches. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement of prayer and solidarity as well. Churches for Middle East Peace has sent a letter to Secretary of State Clinton, urging Secretary Clinton to seek U.S. policies that promote and reinforce peaceful religious coexistence in Iraq. For more on the incident, click here.
Additional statements include the following:
National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA-Centennial Gathering
The Heads of Churches in Jerusalem
The World Student Christian Federation
Syrian Orthodox Patriarchal Vicariate of the United Kingdom
The Islamic Society of North America
Members and leaders in the Presbyterian Church in Iraq have communicated this simple message: “Please pray for the Christians in Baghdad” who offer this supplication, “Lord you are the savior, you are the protector.” A prayer from the Chaldean liturgy that may be used is this one:
For lasting peace in this ancient land – From you, O Lord.
For wisdom and compassion for all in authority – From you, O Lord.
For comfort for families separated or bereaved – From you, O Lord.
For the release of captives – From you, O Lord.
For safety and security for minority communities.
For refreshment for the weary and healing for the sick – From you, O Lord.
For continuing faithfulness of the ancient churches of this land – From you, O Lord.
For tenacity of spirit for small Christian groups – From you, O Lord.
For the mutual enrichment and support of those of different Christian traditions –
From you, O Lord.
You, Lord of all, we confess;
You, Lord Jesus, we glorify;
For you are the life of our bodies
And you are the Saviour of our souls.
Christian leaders in Iraq continue to call for an end to violence. Earlier in 2010, they issued this statement calling for an end to violence. They also condemned an attack on a church in February in Mosul.
In addition, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA has raised this issue with the US Administration.
Even with a reduction of troops, the situation in Iraq deserves our attention. To learn more about the situation there, and the impact of war in Iraq locally, regionally, and globally, Global Ministries produced a resource entitled, “From War to Peace: Iraq and the Church’s Voice.” For further background reading on Iraq, a list of recommended books may be found here.