Lectionary Selection: Psalm 80: 1-2, 8-19
Prayers for Turkey:
Creator God, the people ask you to look upon them, to restore them, and to give them life. We pray for those who have been driven from their homes in Syria and are living as refugees in Turkey and other surrounding countries. We pray for the Istanbul Interparish Migrant Program, a small operation living on a subsistence budget provided by local churches and international contributors. The migrants’ stories of brokenness and despair are endless as they listen and care, doing what they can to help. We pray for the continued work of the American Research Institute in Turkey in providing for scholarship and research into the vast history of this region, including the almost two centuries of mission work by the predecessors of the Common Global Ministries Board. We pray for wisdom and direction for the Health and Education Foundation, as it continues the institutional presence of these years of work. Today especially I want to lift up the people of Turkey, who struggle for a country that gives all its people voice and choice. We pray for those who have been wrongly detained or persecuted for writing about or peacefully standing up for what they believe in.
God has given us life. May we use our lives in God’s service to the benefit of all people and of all of Creation.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Turkey:
It is easy to look at the Middle East and lump all of the protests of the region together into simplistic explanations, but each country has its own circumstances and issues. I am thankful for my many years in Turkey as a Global Ministries missionary and for the insights I have gained from knowing and working beside the people of this country.
Turkey has been a democratic republic since 1923 and its recent protests are a sign of a maturing democracy where people are taking responsibility for their lives rather than waiting for the military to intervene and “set things right.” Though the Gezi Park occupation has ended, the protests and meetings have not. Protestors remain concerned about freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of lifestyle, and growing authoritarian power and related greed. They want dialogue and discussion about the future of their country.
In the past few weeks, people have been arbitrarily detained or arrested. Journalists have lost their jobs. Student loans are being withheld from youth who protest. Other repercussions are feared. “The political importance of Turkey has grown even more because of the armed conflict in neighboring Syria. It is currently the world’s biggest prison for journalists, especially those who express views critical of the authorities…” states Reporters without Borders, an organization dedicated to evaluating media freedom in countries around the world.
In the face of this oppressive environment, a sense of community prevails. The holy month of Ramadan, a month in which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, ended August 7th. Meals were organized so protestors and non-protestors could break their fast together. All were invited to partake of these shared meals. This is community and radical hospitality and the sharing of God’s gifts at its best.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Alison Stendahl)
Mission Partners in Turkey:
- American Research Institute in Turkey
- Health and Education Foundation
- Istanbul Interparish Migrant Program (Turkey)
Video Resources about Turkey:
TURKEY: Skype interview with Alison Stendahl, GM missionary
More information on Turkey
Global Ministries Missionary in Turkey:
Alison Stendahl, a member of University Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Seattle, Washington, serves in Istanbul. She works as academic dean and math teacher at Uskudar American Academy.