Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.
Matthew 19:13-15Read more
Lectionary Selection: Matthew 2:13-23
Prayers for Hong Kong:
Dear Lord, we remember today all those who must flee their homeland because of threats of violence, persecution, and death. Just as the baby Jesus and his parents fled from King Herod’s wrath, millions of refugees and asylum seekers around the world are seeking security and protection in a foreign land. Who are the angels who will watch over their perilous journey? Where are the wise men and women who will thwart the evil powers? O, God, we remember the thousands of asylum seekers in Hong Kong from faraway lands in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. Though most have little hope of mercy from the Hong Kong government, they live and move and have their being among us. Many come from countries experiencing civil unrest, human rights abuse, military crackdowns, and war for longer than we can imagine. You know their names even if we do not. Give us a heart of compassion and a spirit of justice so they might live in dignity while in Hong Kong. Console all the weeping mothers and fathers whose children are no more. Receive into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.Read more
Story from World Council of Churches
Rev. James Bhagwan, general secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches, attended the UN climate change conference in Madrid in December 2019. He shared with World Council of Churches (WCC) Communication some of his frustrations and hopes in the face of the global climate emergency.
Rev. James Bhagwan, general secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches. Photo: Marcelo Schneider/WCCRead more
The autumn at the Ecumenical Office of the Presbyterian Church of the Republic of South Korea has been a very busy time for me.Read more
Story from World Council of Churches
Even as international tension mounts, religious leaders from North and South Korea renewed their exchange during a December meeting that kept the push for peace alive. Members of the Steering Committee of the Ecumenical Forum for Peace, Reunification and Cooperation on the Korean Peninsula – including delegations from the Korean Christian Federation (KCF) of North Korea and of the National Council of Churches in South Korea (NCCK) – met in Shenyang, China, on 2-3 December 2019.
Participants of the Steering group meeting of the Ecumenical Forum for Peace on the Korean Peninsula. Photo: NCCKRead more
On November 5, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) was included on the list of “front organizations of local communist terrorist groups” presented to the Philippines House Intelligence Committee by the Department of National Defense (DND). The NCCP was one among several humanitarian and service-oriented organizations on the list that the government is “red-tagging” by alleging they provide funds to the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) through “International Solidarity Work.”Read more
"Pray for the peace of all Hong Kong people. May God grant a listening heart to the authority and the politicians of Hong Kong." Rev. Dr. Eric So, Hong Kong Christian Council Chairperson
Nov. 20, 2019
As Hong Kong enters its sixth month of anti-government protests, some of the worst violence has taken place in the past few weeks. It started after the death of a young university student who had fallen from one story of a parking garage to another story in the early hours of the morning near a protest area. He underwent surgery, was in a coma, and finally passed away a week later. May he rest in God's eternal peace. We are not sure why he entered the garage after joining the protests where tear gas was used by police. The details of his being found, emergency response, and police action are also not completely clear. His death sparked outrage among protesters who accused the police of murder and cover-up.
Then, in retaliation, protesters started a citywide action to paralyze the transportation networks for three days during rush hour. During one conflict between a policeman and a young university protester, another student was shot in the abdomen.There were videos of it posted right away and it appears the student was unarmed. Details are still pending. The young man was taken to surgery in critical condition with injury to the kidney and liver. The surgery saved his life though he remains in hospital in serious condition. We pray he can make a full recovery. The policeman involved has been "doxxed", meaning his personal details were posted online and his family has received death threats. In another tragic incident, a construction worker got into a confrontation with protesters and was set on fire. He is in critical condition at the hospital with serious burns over his body.
Then there have been huge protests and takeover of university campuses by protesters - Chinese University of Hong Kong last week, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University this week. It was a dangerous situation for staff, students, the public, and police. So much tear gas was fired! Many protesters were arrested, some only high school students. After intense negotiations, minors were allowed to leave with their parents after intervention by university heads and Legislative Council members.
If you ask what churches are doing in response, they are actively engaged. Some Christian ministers (including mine from Kowloon Union Church) went to a memorial service held at the parking garage where students were gathering to remember the young man who died. They prayed with those who were there, trying to bring God's peace and love to the grieving. Churches also opened their doors to anybody, but especially protesters who were in need of rest or trying to escape police. Some had run into a Catholic Church, but the police entered anyway and arrested a few young people. Kowloon Union Church was looking after hundreds of protesters around the clock this past Sunday to Monday as the church is right near where some of the worst clashes were happening on Nathan Road. Even as they do so, Christians still face criticism on both sides - some saying the churches are not doing enough to support protesters on the one hand, and others saying the churches are only encouraging more violence and vandalism by not condemning radical protester actions.
Now, if you think this is all shocking, yes it is. We don't know when the protests and violence will end or how we can resolve this as the conflicts continue. Please pray for Hong Kong that we might find a way out of this painful and chaotic situation to something better for the city and nation in the short and long term.
I still manage to go to work at Hong Kong Christian Council. We still have meetings and events. Businesses are open and transportation networks work most of the time (except when they don't). There was the residue of tear gas in the air as my office is close to Polytechnic University and Nathan Road. Very worrying in terms of health and food safety. Finally, one happy note - my daughter got married on Oct 26th! Thank you for your prayers that all went smoothly on a very happy occasion. This was a big thing to be grateful for, not only for a beautiful day that proceeded without incident but the addition of a wonderful son-in-law. Thank you, Lord.
With love from Hong Kong in this season of Thanksgiving,
Rev. Judy Chan
Executive Secretary for Communications
Hong Kong Christian Council
Global Ministries Mission Co-Worker
I am a Global Mission Intern, living in Seoul. I work with our partners in the Presbyterian Church of the Republic of Korea in their ecumenical office.Read more
Long-term Mission Co-Worker in Japan, Jeffrey Mensendiek, was instrumental in coordinating humanitarian relief during and in the years following the 2011 Fukushima “Triple Disaster” of tsunami, flooding, and nuclear contamination. Since then he has facilitated an exchange of Christmas cards between U.S. congregations and those of our partner church in Japan. Jeffrey’s letter to participating churches is also an invitation to any new congregations to take part in this Advent season. You can find stories and current information on what is happening in Japan from Jeffrey’s blog http://jeffreyfromjapan.blogspot.com/. Those interested in participating can contact Jeffrey (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Global Ministries East Asia Pacific Executive, Derek Duncan (email@example.com).Read more