Thomas Smith is serving in Korea which is categorized as a Level 3 country dealing with the COVID 19 virus. Global Ministries has been in regular contact with both Thomas and the partner and received this note about his well-being:
As you must be already following the news, the COVID 19-situation in Korea is getting serious. There are numerous actions taken and many international gatherings cancelled or postponed in Korea.
Thomas, who is doing his volunteer work in Haenam (Haenam Yanmuri Church), in the field of English Ministry, is adapting and enjoying his work! Haenam, is noted as one of the ‘clean zones’ of South Korea without any positive diagnosis on COVID 19. Last weekend, our whole department went to Haenam in order to show our support to the congregation and especially to Thomas. We all shared the impression that he was ‘in his element’!
These two articles regarding the Olympics in Japan and the situation in Fukushima were shared by mission co-worker Jeffrey Mensendiek and leadership of the Aizu Radiation Center.Read more
Churches worldwide are invited to pray for peace on the Korean Peninsula from 1 March to 15 August. During the "Light of Peace" campaign 70 prayers and stories will correspond with a commemoration of 70 years since the Korean War in 2020. In cooperation with the National Council of Churches in Korea, prayers will be published online each week.
A Prayer of Confession for our Divided World
(Light of Peace Prayer #33)
God, Creator of all lands we inhabit and souls we meet,
You beckon us to know in our hearts that if we do live and move and have our being in you,
Then we are wholly yours, and you, God of all, are fully present,
And that there is no division in your divine love.
Yet we confess to you that too often we forget this Holy truth.
Too often, although we all share in your divine presence, we are preoccupied by self.
We incline toward our own devices. We draw sharp lines and build tall walls.
We turn toward those we perceive to be like us, and against those we claim are not.
From America we confess the ways our nation stacks the global deck with such cruel distinctions as in and out, with us or against us.
Enamored of our destiny, we inscribe in our polemics and histories myths of inherent right. Our leaders cast seeds of suspicion and rumors of war from behind palisades of privilege.
Forgive us, Gracious God.
May we use this time of social transformation as a Sabbath from our many separations.
May we turn to you, reminded again of your vision for unity in our fractured world.
Where we have sown fear, show us how to reap understanding.
Where we have become estranged from your creation, help us walk humbly on the earth.
Where we have chosen war over peace and invested in systems of death over life, may we be agents of reconciliation in divided lands.
After more than 70 years may the Korean people especially be reunited, we pray.
God of Hope, inspire us during this time of crisis.
May we, like the yearning mother who petitioned King Solomon
Proclaim there’s greater wisdom in a love that
Refuses to allow our children to be divided.
Thank you, Comforting God, that we belong to you and that we share the wholeness of your creation.
When our human factions have worn thin, and the connections we may have once clung to no longer hold meaning, may we be assured in knowing that we can abide in you and in your love.
Bless us in our renewed yearning for each other and for your embrace.
In the name of Christ who reconciles us to you, we pray this prayer of confession. Amen.
Derek Duncan, Area Executive
Lectionary Selection: Matthew 5:21-37
Prayers for Japan:
Thank you for who you are.
Thank you for being a God that sees us not for the rules we follow, but what is in our hearts.
When the rules only say, “do not be mean,” help us to be intentionally and especially kind. When the sign says, “do not litter,” help us to pick up even the trash that is not ours.
When you instruct us to not seek vengeance, help us to truly forgive.
Help us to serve you with all our hearts.
We live in a world where courts, laws, and judges have the authority to decide what is “just” and what is “right,” yet too often these human judgments fail to reflect true justice and righteousness, which comes from you. Teach us true justice and righteousness.
We pray for the people who are hungry, the communities that are marginalized, and the environment that suffers at the hands of people seeking to make a profit.
Teach us to be good stewards, good servants, and good neighbors, to not only recognize the value of every individual but to actively make space and invite them in.
Teach us to follow you from the inside out.
Entonces le fueron presentados unos niños, para que pusiese las manos sobre ellos, y orase; y los discípulos les reprendieron. Pero Jesús dijo: Dejad a los niños venir a mí, y no se lo impidáis; porque de los tales es el reino de los cielos. Y habiendo puesto sobre ellos las manos, se fue de allí. Mateo 19:13-15Read more
By Connie Larkman, UCC News
Global Ministries has joined an ecumenical effort to provide much-needed medical supplies to China. Several denominations are pooling resources to buy protective gear for doctors and hospital workers treating victims of the Wuhan coronavirus.Read more
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