Lectionary Selection: Mark 7:24-37
Prayers for the Philippines:
How long, O God, will your creation groan in pain?
How long, dear God, will your people suffer?
Calamities unleashed by your violated and groaning creation have befallen upon your people. While typhoons and monsoon rains, followed by flash floods and landslides, are a common occurrence in the Philippines, they have increased their ferocity and destructive powers in recent years. And, while it is true that the whole nation has suffered, the onus has fallen on the most vulnerable members of society.
Loving God, as if the calamities were not enough, the vast majority of your people continue to suffer from the politics of greed, graft and corruption, violence, and impunity. When impunity continues, we can only expect demoralization, cynicism, and powerlessness, which produce a climate conducive to crime. The vicious cycle continues.
The affliction of your people and creation is not hidden from your sight, O God. You, too, have suffered with them. We ask that you let your Spirit enter into every human heart and into every structure of power, to bring transformation and healing. Empower your people to pursue the work of exorcising Empire in all its deathly manifestations, and resist trading silence for the illusion of security. Accompany and nourish them so they do not succumb to cynicism and despair, but continue the long and hard work of global democracy and justice.
Mission Stewardship Moment from the Philippines:
It has been my privilege to serve as President of Union Theological Seminary (UTS), Philippines, for about two years and three months now. Without a doubt we have faced many challenges as an institution, but we are turning slowly and steadily the challenges into opportunities. We are not simply surviving; we are thriving. Beyond maintaining and strengthening our traditional degree programs (Bachelor of Theology and Master of Divinity), we are venturing into new programs that make theological education more accessible, flexible, adaptable, and affordable, by offering hybrid courses (face-to-face and online). Moreover, some of these innovative programs address the needs of vulnerable communities, such as the training of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) for community leadership and development and the first responders training on “Mental Health, Psychosocial Support, and Spiritual Care in Situations of Trauma.”
We are deeply grateful for the multiple ways you have supported partners institutions (Dansalan College Foundation, Northern Christian College, Silliman University, Southern Christian College, Union Theological Seminary, and United Church of Christ in the Philippines) and programs in the Philippines: through solidarity and prayers, advocacy, mission volunteers, immersion programs, development projects, financial gifts, etc. These various institutions have carried out faithfully and creatively the mission of the church in their respective contexts.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Eleazar Fernandez)
Mission Partners in Nicaragua:
- Dansalan College Foundation
- Northern Christian College
- Silliman University
- Southern Christian College
- Union Theological Seminary
- United Church of Christ in the Philippines
More information on the Philippines: http://www.globalministries.org/philippines
Global Ministries Missionary in the Philippines:
Eleazar Fernandez serves as a long-term volunteer with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.