Prayers for Turkey: Matthew 22:1-14
O God, you know well there is a joke for every one of our pretensions. No matter how finely we dress, you know us inside and out. No matter how much we seek the admiration of others, you see our strengths and weaknesses. No matter how superior we regard ourselves to others, you regard us with an honest and leveling eye. Have compassion on us, O God, and forgive us our pride. It is with humility that we support our mission in education, health, and work with women and refugees in Turkey.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Turkey:
Scholars tell us that in the early Christian church, the parable for today allegorically describes God’s original call to the Jewish people to accept Jesus as the Messiah. Whenever this call was spurned, God turned to others, the Gentiles, and many did respond. Yet those now in the church will still be judged as to who is finally acceptable to God.
How shall we read this parable as the church today? Shall we see ourselves as the smug believers chosen for the kingdom? As the chosen few who have correctly responded to the invitation to enter the Kingdom of God? Who feel superior to the rejecters, the rebels, and the shabbily dressed? Who must love repeating this parable to each other as confirmation of their virtue and as condemnation of those who don’t believe as they do?
In Turkey we do not focus on who is in the church and who isn’t. As the king in the parable invited all to the banquet, the programs we support in Turkey reach out to all. We work together with Muslims, Christians of various backgrounds, and people of other faith traditions in providing these services.
The last episode in the parable brings to mind the popular Turkish folktale about the man invited to a banquet who was shunned for being poorly dressed. So he returned wearing a fine coat, was allowed back in, treated as an honored guest, and then proceeded to fill his coat pockets with food, saying, “Eat, my coat, eat!” He said he did this because his coat, and not him, was the one who was invited.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Betty and Ken Frank)
Global Ministries International Partners in Turkey:
- Istanbul Interparish Migrant Program: Predecessors of the current Global Ministries personnel in Istanbul organized local parishes to serve the influx of refugees to that city during the First Gulf War in 1991. Hearing the continuing call to minister to the needs of economic migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees stranded in Turkey – they number at least 100,000 today – the parishes over the years have sustained and further developed this ecumenical program of Christian mission. The focus is on the most marginalized group of migrants, namely women with children. Services include food, clothing, health care, counseling, voluntary repatriation, adult education and emergency shelter subsidies. IIMP is a critical presence in the lives of those they help. Its work overlaps with NGOs that advocate for the rights of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. Global Ministries personnel are officers on the IIMP Board and in charge of the adult education program.
- Health and Education Foundation: The Health and Education Foundation, a Turkish secular philanthropy, began in 1968 to protect and renew the educational and medical institutions of the American Board, which represents the founder of these institutions more than a century ago. The Health and Education Foundation consists of volunteers who are the graduates of the American Board schools. There are three high schools in Turkey (Tarsus, Istanbul, Izmir), a hospital in Gaziantep (SEV American Hospital) and a printing press (SEV-YAY), founded by the American Board but now managed by the Health and Education Foundation, which has full responsibility and authority for them. The institutions exemplify the positive possibilities for bridging cultural divides and building trustful relationships that are needed in today's pluralistic world. Global Ministries follows with hope and interest the progress of these historical institutions through its office in Turkey, the American Board.
For more information on Turkey, click here: http://globalministries.org/mee/countries/turkey/
Global Ministries Personnel in Turkey:
Ken & Betty Frank serve with the American Board in Istanbul, Turkey. They share the job of General Secretary of the American Board and follow closely the historical institutions now managed by the Health and Education Foundation. They also serve on the board of the Istanbul Interparish Migrant Program (IIMP) and work in its programs.
Alison Stendahl serves as Academic Dean of and a math teacher at Uskudar American Academy in Istanbul, Turkey. She also represents, along with Peter Makari, Global Ministries on the Near East School of Theology (NEST) Board in Beirut, Lebanon.
Pray for Partners without Global Ministries Mission Personnel: Greece
For more info on Greece, click here: http://globalministries.org/mee/countries/greece/