Ruth "Ruthie" Sowter Robeson
February 17, 1921 – October 5, 2015
The recent attention to the plight of Syrian (and other) refugees in Europe has brought to the forefront the need to address the issue, including its root cause, the war in Syria. These recent articles and essays may be helpful in gaining a clearer understanding of some of the issues at stake.Read more
The Union of Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East was formed in 1924 as a consolidation of the Armenian Evangelical movement which began in the 1820's. It is comprised of 17 congregations rooted in the longer history of Armenian Christianity. Located in seven countries (Egypt, Greece, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, and Australia), the congregations and institutions of the Union have persisted in mission and in presence through the Middle East's political and social strife.Read more
“Denial, impunity and the failure to remember such events encourage their repetition.” This warning was issued by the WCC executive committee in a public issues statement on the Armenian genocide of the early 20th century. Meeting in Armenia from 7 to 12 June at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, home to the Armenian Apostolic Church, the 20-member committee paid its respects to this year’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the tragedy.Read more
Written by Anthony Moujaes, UCNews
The United Church of Christ General Synod will have an opportunity to collectively and publicly lament the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide with the consideration of a proposed resolution before the church's governing body later this month. Just as important, this resolution will give the denomination a chance to condemn any violence based on race, ethnicity or religion—the type of violence happening in Syria, for example, where many Armenian refugees fled.Read more
My 6 months of traveling and speaking upon my return from Turkey has come to an end. It has been a phenomenal experience for me as I have been privileged to meet and interact with so many people within the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ, throughout the country. It has also amazed me, as I reflect upon these past months, how therapeutic and integrative it has been for me personally, to have had the opportunity to think about and to tie together all of the experiences of my life up to the present. Turkey has been and will always be an integral part of who I am today. Turkey as a land bridge between Asia and Europe, geographically, historically, and culturally is a country that has had and will continue to have major significance.Read more
Lectionary Selection: Psalm 62: 5-12
Prayers for Turkey:
We pray for the people of Turkey who struggle for freedom of expression and who work tirelessly to improve the society they live in for all people. We pray for those who work to build a better understanding between groups who have had little trust of one another. We pray for the refugees who have uprooted their entire life and brought their families to a foreign land. For some of these people they have no hope. “My soul cries out in despair. How much more can I be crushed? How much more can I endure?” Turkey has entered a perilous time, so we pray for wisdom of the government, religious, educational and civil leaders of this country. Trust in God at all times. “For you, O God, repay to all according to their work.” (Psalm 62:12b)
Lectionary Selection: Genesis 25:19–34
Prayers for Turkey:
This week we pray for the people of the Republic of Turkey and for those who find themselves escaping to Turkey as refugees. As hundreds of thousands of refugees find themselves leaving their homes, whether due to war, economic hardship or fear for their lives, we pray for a roof over their heads and food to eat. We lift up the Turks who are on the street protesting and seeking a more just, open and free society. As you hear their cries for justice, may the current government treat them as more than troublemakers and abnormalities in their own country. You hear the cries of pain and sorrow rising from those close to workers who lose their lives due to unsafe working conditions, such as the miners who recently died in the Soma mining disaster. We pray for the day when human life will be treated with dignity and concern. Through the darkest of nights we are assured of your presence, your comfort and your guidance. Let us never forget to seek you out.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Turkey:
The Istanbul Interparish Migrant Program began over 20 years ago by an ecumenical consortium of churches trying to deal with the great influx of refugees from a variety of countries in the surrounding regions. Common Global Ministries was quick to respond with assistance and sent the first coordinators of the program, the Rev. Bob and Olgha Sandman. The IIMP continues to run on a small budget by one paid part-time coordinator, a program assistant and a myriad of volunteers from all over the world. Since its inception the number of clients and the range of countries continue to grow. Every month people from 25 – 30 countries seek out medical support, especially for the very vulnerable such as women and children; partake of soup kitchens; attempt to have some normality by joining in the Moms and Tots program; or just drop in for advice or support. Currently, with nearly one million Syrian refugees now in Turkey, resources are stretched thin. Many of these refugees live in camps set up by the Turkish government near the Turkish-Syrian border, but many Syrians have made their way to Istanbul. To see Syrian women with children sitting on a sidewalk with a sign asking for help has become a frequent sight, especially near mosques and churches. To see men from Senegal or Nigeria on the street peddling fake watches is also a common occurrence. With so many needs in the world, the IIMP is very grateful for donations from churches and individuals. With your continued financial support and prayers, the ministry of the Istanbul Interparish Migrant Program will continue to serve the growing number of refugees.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Alison Stendahl)
Mission Partners in Turkey:
- American Research Institute in Turkey
- Health and Education Foundation
- Istanbul Interparish Migrant Program (IIMP)
More information on Turkey:
Global Ministries Missionary in Turkey:
Alison Stendahl, a member of University Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Seattle, Washington, serves the Near East Mission in Istanbul. She works as academic dean and math teacher at Uskudar American Academy.