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Lectionary Text and Prayers for Sri Lanka: Mark 9:2-9
Please pray for an immediate cease-fire, peace and reconciliation between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The following are excerpts of e-mails from partners on the ground with specific prayer information:
You may be aware that Sri Lanka recently 'celebrated' 60 years of 'independence'. I wish to bring to your kind information that we are going through a very bad period in the history of our nation and seek your prayers for guidance, wisdom, patience, tolerance and understanding at this critical time.
The ethnic conflict that was unresolved since 'independence' has taken away many lives since 1958. In 1983 after the ethnic clashes many Tamils migrated to South India and other parts of the country. With the experiences of frustration, LTTE waged war to get a separate state and it had been continuing on and off since 1983. Various efforts taken for a negotiated settlement have failed due to many reasons. The Cease Fire Agreement signed between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE in February 2002 was abrogated early this year. The hostilities have escalated. Aerial bombings in the North continue, claymore mines go off killing many innocent civilians in many parts of the country including the South. People are arrested and detained. Freedom of expression is curtailed. Journalists are harassed. People live in fear. It is a volatile situation. Life has been desecrated.
Please remember the people, and the leaders of our weeping and bleeding land. Please also pray for sanity, justice and peace.
Jayasiri Peiris - General Secretary of the National Christian Council in Sri Lanka
You all are aware of the situation in Vanni. The Government of Sri Lanka is not listening to the request made by several humanitarian organizations to stop the ongoing war in Vanni. Nearly 300,000 thousand people are encircled by the Sri Lankan Forces in a small area of land (Approximately 20KM X 30 KM) and continuously attacking the area with mortars, artillery and ariel bombarding. Within last week alone more than 1000 people were killed and another 1500 are injured. They do not have facilities and medicines for medical treatment. The Government announced a place as safety zone and when people assembled there, they bombed that place. No one can do any thing to save the innocent people. Only our God Almighty can intervene in this regard. Let us all unite and pray to our God to save these people from their suffering.
Rev.A.Jeyakumaran - The Jaffna Region of the Church of the American Ceylon Mission
"UN Evacuates Civilians in Sri Lanka" (The Boston Globe, Page A3, Jan. 30) only begins to tell the story of the growing number of civilian casualties from Sri Lanka's escalating violence. As a member of a non-profit organization with historic ties to Christian educational programs in the nation's northern Jaffna region, I am alarmed by reports from local church leaders and colleagues of a civilian population in crisis, squeezed by the opposing forces, especially within a shrinking "safe refuge" in the northeastern Wanni area. On Wednesday, a local pastor who manages a Home for Girls and a Day Care Center was injured by aerial bombing. Primary school girls at Uduvil Girls' College (Jaffna) who are from the Wanni region are frantically worried for the safety of their families, from whom they have had no word. The innocent, including children, are suffering the price of this horrific war. Church leaders from northern Sri Lanka are calling for an immediate cessation of violence and a return to a ceasefire between the government forces and the LTTE. On Sunday morning, Feb. 1, many of the Protestant churches in Sri Lanka's Jaffna district held an hour of prayer, a vigil in support of those internally displaced by the violence. My prayers joined with theirs and with those in a circle of concern worldwide who are dismayed by this tragic war.
Phil Braudaway-Bauman, president of the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds
Global Ministries International Partners in Sri Lanka:
Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society (CISRS) has co-sponsored a Joint Women's Program with the William Carey Study and Research Center. This program has attempted to address the issues of communal harmony; growing violence against women and children; economic policies particularly as they impact women; and the JWP has lobbied the government on these and other issues related to women.
Church of American Ceylon Mission
Ecumenical Institute for Study and Dialogue (EISD) is dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and cooperation among members of the various religious traditions represented in Sri Lanka. The Study Center building is used by a number of church-related organizations and other institutions to provide accommodation for participants involved in Study Programs. The endowment fund enables the EISD to continue developing and offering opportunities for programs that will promote respectful and cooperative relationships among differing faith traditions.
House for Hope, Sri Lanka is a Leper Colony which provides a home, treatment and hope for those battling leprosy.
Jaffna College has been serving the people of Sri Lanka for over 175 years. The College provides the opportunity for a good quality education to youth who would not otherwise have this opportunity. The Jaffna College Technical Institute offers technical training in air conditioning and refrigeration; automobile technology; mechanical engineering; electronics and telecommunications; civil engineering and quality surveying; electrical engineering; and computer programming and information processing. From 2003 to 2005, Global Mission Intern Diane Faires taught at the College.
Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India. The Christian communities of Sri Lanka are members of the Church of South India. The Jaffna Diocese is their local body of church governance. The Jaffna Diocese has been challenged for many years to find ways of promoting peace in a country torn by war. More recently they have been challenged to respond to the devastation of the tsunami. Much of the government's relief delivery has been directed to serve the Sinhalese population. Tamils, in the north and northeast have been in conflict with the Sinhalese for over twenty years and the tensions are still high. Global Ministries support for tsunami relief in Sri Lanka has been directed to the Jaffna Diocese for assisting these Tamil Communities which are not being served by the government relief programs.
National Christian Council of Sri Lanka has been involved in interfaith dialogues, theological education and rehabilitation in the midst of the civil war. They are now developing their capacity to address the HIV/AIDS crisis.The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka has been involved in interfaith dialogues, theological education and rehabilitation in the midst of the civil war. They are now developing their capacity to address the HIV/AIDS crisis.
Uduvil Girls College was created to provide educational opportunities for Tamil girls who were getting only minimal education. It is now 175 years old and still dedicated to promoting the education and cultural advancement opportunities for girls. Missionary Grace Bunker has recently retired after serving at Uduvil for 4 years.
Global Ministries Missionary in Sri Lanka:
None at the present time
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Lectionary Text and Prayers for the Dominican Republic: Mark 1:29-39
Lord we see around us a society torn by inter family violence toward women and children, children malnourished and undereducated, and in situation of sexual exploitation. We've seen the innocence of youth who have learned the realities of poverty very early in life and the parents who are struggling to change their situations in life. We see not only people infected by AIDS but families suffering the effects. We don't understand why people are still without the basic necessities of life such as clean water and food. Amidst this devastation we fail to remember that you are the ultimate healer. Lord, in our busy lives help us to find the quiet space and time to spend with you in solidarity so that we may be renewed and cleansed to go out into this world with peaceful spirits and loving hearts. We pray that you may use our hands to bring your healing powers and embrace the struggles of this world that we live in. Amen.
- For the staff of Caminante that works long hours to defend and promote the rights of children that the Lord will continue to renew their spirits and hearts with compassion, patience and energy.
- For the children in Situations of the Street that they may see and know the love of Christ through the hands of those that continually are workings with them.
- For the youth of this community that are struggling with the pressures of poverty, forced to work, neglecting their education and right to the enjoyment of children.
- For the families and children affected by HIV/AIDS, that they may continue to fight for their right to life and overcome the daily struggles through knowing the healing presence of the Lord.
- Prayers for the Regional Ministers/Staff (Glen Stewart – Tennessee, Paxton Jones – Kansas, Don Hiscox – Upper Midwest, Penny Ross-Corona – Mid-America, Tom Jewell – Oklahoma, Lee Parker – Virginia, Ralph Datema – Central Rocky Mountain, Ray Miles – Georgia, Thad Allen – West Virginia, Sotello Long – South Carolina, Barb Jones – Great River and Rebecca Hale – Northwest) that will be visiting the Dominican Republic and the partner organizations of Global Ministries that they will be visiting. We pray that minister as well as partners bring each other a renewed hope and faithful presence, that they may continue the work of the Lord our healer and ever present companion in each of their parts of the world.
(Prayer by Erin McKinney)
Global Ministries International Partners in the Dominican Republic:
Acociacion Centro Cristiano de Asesoramiento Familiar (CECAF):
Iglesia Evangelica Dominicana:
Proyecto Educativo Caminantes:
- Servicio Social de Iglesias Dominicanas, Inc. (SSID):
Global Ministries Missionary in the Dominican Republic:
Erin McKinney, a member of Hiram Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Hiram, Ohio, has been appointed to serve Caminante in Boca Chica from 9/1/08 to 8/31/09. She works with children in Caminante's Outreach Ministry.
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Lectionary Text and Prayer for Haiti: Mark 1:40-45
As followers of that radical Galilean peasant may we remember that he was first and foremost a healer. Jesus brought life to those experiencing social alienation. May we do the same. Jesus reached out to those in desperate situations and allowed them to know firsthand the compassion of the divine. May we do the same. Jesus challenged the attitudes and structures that caused misery in his own time in order to bring God's love to those in need. May we do the same. When the world informs us that we too can choose to be healers may we respond with the heart of Jesus by saying, "I do choose."
The people of Haiti cry out from the agony of hunger, unemployment, environmental destruction, and political instability. We pray especially for the following:
- That the community churches in CONASPEH stay true to the organization's liberating vision to be a movement of peace and justice. And that the CONASPEH Congress on February 13-25 be a time of renewal and inspiration for the organization.
- That the plight of those experiencing the pangs of hunger in Haiti not be forgotten.
- For the healing of the Haitian environment, which has undergone a tremendous amount of destruction and exploitation.
- That the women of Haiti may have their voices heard throughout the country and especially within the church.
- For all of the children living in crowded orphanages, on the streets, and in other inhumane situations. May we as people of faith respond to this injustice by reaching out to help.
- For the 12 Disciples regional staff, (Glen Stewart – Tennessee, Paxton Jones – Kansas, Don Hiscox – Upper Midwest, Penny Ross-Corona – Mid-America, Tom Jewell – Oklahoma, Lee Parker – Virginia, Ralph Datema – Central Rocky Mountain, Ray Miles – Georgia, Thad Allen – West Virginia, Sotello Long – South Carolina, Barb Jones – Great River and Rebecca Hale – Northwest) Felix Ortiz and Bob Shebeck who are visiting partners in Haiti at this time during the Be a Global Mission Region Immersion Trip.
In the name of the Spirit of love, compassion, and justice we pray these things.
(Prayer by Patrick Bentrott)
Global Ministries International Partners in Haiti:
National Spiritual Council of Haitian Churches (CONASPEH) is composed of 6,000 affiliated grassroots churches, approximately 3,000 neighborhood schools, plus the Karen School of Nursing and the Andrew Theological Seminary. An important part of their mission is to provide a more unified political and social voice for Protestant churches in the country.
House of Hope is a project that works in favor of children who live in domestic slavery
Hospice St. Joseph is dedicated to walking with the poor who can't afford health care or emergency surgery.
Ecumenical Committee for Peace and Justice
Service Chrétien D'Haiti
Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Haiti
- Christian Center Integral Development: Sant Kretyen pou Devlopman Entegre (SKDE)
Global Ministries Missionaries in Haiti
Kim and Patrick Bentrott have been appointed to serve the National Spiritual Council of Churches in Haiti (CONASPEH) from 9/1/08 to 8/31/12. Kim advises CONASPEH on health care and diaconal projects and programs and Patrick on theological education and diaconal projects and programs.
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Lectionary Text and Prayers for Angola: Mark 1:21-28
Gracious God, we thank you for sending to us Jesus the Christ to cast out evil in our spirits and in our world, to speak your Word of Truth and Justice, with power and authority.
For far too long, the evils of war and want ravaged Angola and your people cried out for peace and justice. Peace has come to the land and we pray that your Church in Angola will continue to be a force that works for peace with justice for all.
We pray that You will guide and bless the efforts of the Evangelical Congregational Church in Angola as it seeks to be a voice for the voiceless and a source of empowerment for the disenfranchised:
- Help your Church to continue its ministry of reconciliation, reaching out to people still captive by the wounds of civil strife.
- Enable community development programs to improve the current circumstances and life prospects of poor people in rural areas.
- Guide the staff of IECA's schools to prepare young people for participation and leadership in a free and open society.
And, help your Church all around the world to stand in prayerful solidarity and active partnership with our brothers and sisters in Angola, for we are One through You. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Strength and our Redeemer. Amen.
(Prayer by Donna Dudley)
Global Ministries International Partners in Angola:
- Council of Christian Churches in Angola: CICA, is an ecumenical institution founded in 1977 with the purpose of being the Angolan's faith community's guiding institution in the country, as well as the prophetic voice of its member institutions towards local and international governments. CICA began with 7 member communions, and today has 22 member communions and related organizations. CICA is based in Luanda, yet supports activities and ecumenical relations in all 18 provinces of Angola. The Department of Justice, Ecumenism, Reconciliation and Cooperation was created as an organ responsible to respond to the various needs in peace building and conflict transformation in order to promoted a culture of peaceful coexistence, relationship building throughout Angolan society. http://www.edicisa.org.zw/FOCCISA/angola/index.html
- Evangelical Congregational Church in Angola: The Evangelical Congregational Church in Angola (IECA) is a longstanding partner of Global Ministries. The entity now known as IECA was founded in 1880 on the Angolan central plain by missionaries from the United Church of Canada and the American Committee of the Missions (USA), a forerunner of the United Church of Christ. The Church expanded in the central plateau through the creation of missions. During the long civil war (1976 – 2002), most church institutions were destroyed and members were dispersed throughout Angola, but the Church continued to expand, and currently has over 900,000 members and more than 3,000 congregations. IECA's Department of Social Assistance, Studies and Projects (DASEP) was created in 1991, to improve the general well being of the Angolan people by implementing projects in the areas of: Justice, Peace and Reconciliation; Gender, Women and Children; Health and HIV AIDS; Education and Training; Institutional Strengthening; and Sustainable Community Development. The current peace in Angola allows DASEP to be an agent of social transformation in implementing the Church's vision: To create a more just Angolan society, founded on ethical-moral and biblical principles, leading to a better world for all. http://warc.jalb.de/warcajsp/church.jsp?news_id=19&navi=9&church=127
Global Ministries Missionary in Angola:
Donna Dudley is a missionary with the Evangelical Congregational Church of Angola. She is assigned to their Department of Social Assistance, Studies and Projects and assists with development projects, staff leadership training, and strengthening church-related and other international partnerships.
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Lectionary Text and Prayers for the Philippines: Mark 1:14-20
We give thanks, Lord, for our sisters and brothers in the Philippines who have heard your call and have followed you. For some, living out the call of their faith has not been easy and has meant following you even to the cross. For our brothers and sisters in the Philippines who have been unjustly imprisoned, tortured, abducted and killed, we admire and respect their courage and mourn with their families and friends. They have reminded us that following you and trying to tread your path faithfully can be difficult and dangerous. In this world in which the power of money and of guns is pursued with much greater fervor than the power of your love, we pray, Lord, for your holy protection for our brothers and sisters in the Philippines. Keep them safe, Lord, and keep them faithful. We lift up our prayer to you, Lord, in your Son's name. Amen.
- Hundreds of people have been extrajudicially killed and hundreds more have disappeared since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo became president of the Philippines in 2001. Those killed and abducted have included lawyers, journalists, students and a variety of social activists advocating for the rights of peasants, workers and indigenous people as well as members of the clergy and lay people in Asia's only predominantly Christian country. Most victims have sought to better the lives of the poor. To honor their lives and witness, we offer the prayer above.
- While hundreds of individuals have died or have never been found, only a handful of people have been arrested, prosecuted and convicted for this loss of life. The military is viewed by most observers inside and outside of the country as being responsible for most of this violence. With so few perpetrators held accountable, impunity is engendered, and the cycle of death continues. We thus pray for justice for those who have been killed and disappeared and for compassion for their families.
- The Philippines is also afflicted with corruption, from questionable election results to the awarding of government contracts and other irregularities. Therefore, we pray for those occupying public office in the Philippines to serve the interests of the people and not the self-interests of themselves.
- Land and the wealth of the nation are very unevenly divided in the Philippines. Attempts at genuine land reform since the fall of the Marcos dictatorship more than 20 years ago have often been thwarted and delayed by those who wield economic and political power in the country. Consequently, we pray for land for those who till it and a distribution of wealth that ensures that all Filipinos can enjoy an adequate standard of living.
(Prayer by Bruce Van Voorhis)
Global Ministries International Partners in the Philippines:
- Dansalan College Foundation
- Northern Christian College
- Silliman University
- Southern Christian College
- Union Theological Seminary
- United Church of Christ in the Philippines
Global Ministries Missionaries in the Philippines:
Levi Oracion is a long-term volunteer and serves as a theology professor at the Divinity School of Silliman University in the Philippines.
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Lectionary Text and Prayers for Hungary: John 1:43-51
Hear our prayer this day, for the numbers of your people who are in recovery from oppression or spiritual unhealth brought about by powers opposed to You. Help such congregations to overcome the malaise and blunted nerve that is a sign of victimization. May the Reformed Church of Hungary (and especially the third of them who remain marginalized just outside the borders of the country), we pray, know that they are part of a prayer and practice koinonia much larger than themselves.
As we grow in our believing, help us to connect the ancient and the present (as John does for us today), made vital in the life-gifts and messages, the very presence, of the Son of God, the Son of Man, our Jesus the Christ - For in his Name we pray. Amen.
- The declining birth-rate in Hungary, true of many EU countries at this time, means that the national education office intends to close 2/3 of all higher education institutions, with particularly the religious colleges and universities feeling targeted. Pray for the worth of the Church's presence in Hungary in higher education.
- Again, now, a list of clergy has been activated from State/Party Archives, identifying church leaders who "informed" on their fellow church members during the 1948-1989 'Soviet' years, often only to safeguard their homes, families and jobs. Pray that this process can be accompanied by forgiveness and internal healing rather than by political manipulations within the Church.
- Be with the populace of Hungary as it is battered by EU integration requirements and immigrant incursions, - from the East (ie., the current President brought in 4000 Chinese nationals early in his term of office, and now we are importing Chinese police candidates to supervise them), - from the South (ie., Iraqis, Pakistanis, and Afghans "wash" through Hungary in their desperation to find a safe home in the West, and a surprising number choose to stay), - or more locally, the minority Roma are enjoying some consciousness-raising and a phenomenal birth-rate increase! This diluting puts a great strain on Hungarian identity too early in the re-finding process.
- Praise God for the present and future faithful, hopeful, Christian leaders who are not daunted by the many challenges they face. Strengthen them in their efforts to meld the several theologies being practiced in the Reformed Churches here in these days, so they can allow a genuine Christ-centered vitality to emerge from historic Church-ness.
(Prayer by Coralyn and Laslo Medyesy )
Global Ministries International Partner in Hungary:
- The Reformed Church in Hungary is, in terms of numbers, the largest denomination in Hungary, after the Roman Catholic Church. The existence of the Reformed Church in Hungary dates from this Debrecen Synod of 1567. At present the registered number of Reformed Hungarians world-wide is about three and a half million. Of these, some two million live in Hungary. In consequence of the dismemberment of Hungary after World War I, many congregations—even whole church districts in Transylvania—were separated from the church and placed beyond the borders of this country. These believers continue to live in their old homes, but in alien linguistic and religious surroundings. In the United States there are some 70 Hungarian Reformed congregations in two separate church bodies. The Reformed Church in Hungary maintains close fraternal relations with Hungarian coreligionists living abroad, whether in neighboring countries or dispersed throughout the world, partly through the World Federation of Hungarian Reformed Believers, and partly within the framework of the Consultative Synod of the Hungarian Reformed Church. Reformed believers amount to about 21% of the Hungarian population of ten million. 1200 congregations live in four Church Districts and 27 seniorates. http://www.reformatus.hu/
Global Ministries Missionaries in Hungary:
Coralyn and Laslo Medyesy are Global Ministries missionaries with the Reformed Church in Hungary, based in Budapest, Hungary. Coralyn is a Teacher of Social Work and Diakonia at the Nagy Koros School. Laslo serves as professor of theology in the Department of Theology of the Gaspar Karoli Reformed University in Budapest.
Barbara and Zoltan Szucs are Global Ministries missionaries with the Reformed Church in Hungary. Barbara works with the Roma (Gypsy) mission as an enabler and Zoltan serves as a Professor of Practical Theology at Karoli Gaspar University in Budapest.
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Lectionary Text and Prayers for Mexico: Mark 1:4-11
God, we thank you for the church's call to preach the Good News of forgivenness of sins and to make disciples who will share your love with others. We pray today for our partner churches in Mexico as they seek to faithfully carry out these ministries in Jesus name. We ask you to bless the work of the Mission Round Table which unites the two Disciples denominations and the Congregational churches in a common effort to carry out your mission in Mexico. We pray also for the institutions and programs responsible for leadership training and theological education. We ask that you might raise up strong leaders in the line of John the Baptist. Amen
(Prayer by Bob Shebeck)
Global Ministries International Partners in Mexico:
- Alianza de Iglesias Cristianas Evangelicas (Discipulos de Cristo) en Mexico (AICE)
- Centro de Coordinacion de Proyectos Ecumenicos (CECOPE)
- Confraternidad de Iglesias Cristianas Evangelicas (Discipulos de Cristo) (CICE)
- Iglesias Cristianas Congregacionales de Mexico
- Instituto de Estudios e Investigacion Intercultural, A.C. (INESIN)
Global Ministries Missionary in Mexico:
Justino Perez-Ojeda and Zaida Rivera-Rivera are missionaries serving with the Christian Congregational Churches of Mexico, the Alliance of Evangelical Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) of Mexico (AICEDCAR) and the Fraternity of Evangelical Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) of Mexico. Justino is administered in the country by the Christian Congregational Churches of Mexico. He serves as a consultant for the Mission Development Program. Zaida serves as a consultant for the Mission Development Program.
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Lectionary Text and Prayers for Israel-Palestine: Luke 2:22-40 and John 1:10-18
We pray for the incoming team of President-Elect Obama and their response to the appeal of Christians to make Peace in the Middle-East a priority of his administration right from the very start.
We pray for the upcoming Israeli national elections in February 2009. We pray that the incoming administration will be open to negotiating a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. We hope that problematic issues such as the status of the Palestinian minority that holds Israeli citizenship is remembered.
We pray for Um Kamel and the al Kurd family. Um Kamel was a 1948 refugee residing in her East Jerusalem home allotted to her by the United Nations until recently when settlers aided by the Jerusalem municipality evicted her from her home. Soon after the eviction, Um Kamel lost her husband and we pray that she may receive strength as she mourns. We pray for all East Jerusalemites like Um Kamel who face the constant threat of land expropriation.
We pray for the easing of tensions in Hebron that have been caused by the recent eviction of settlers from the "House of Contention". The violence has resulted in the injury of members of both the Jewish and the Palestinian communities and pray that those injured speedily recover. We pray for all Palestinians in West Bank threatened by settler violence and who suffer economically and socially due to limited access and movement between cities and towns in this area.
We lift up the deplorable humanitarian situation in Gaza today due to the ongoing siege. We pray for those affected by the food and fuel shortages experienced regularly and for those who require medical treatment that are unable to receive it due to border closures.
We pray for the ministry of Sabeel and all our Global Ministries partners in the Middle East.
To sign the letter to President-Elect Obama, click here: http://action.cmep.org/t/4030/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=173
International Sabeel Events:
Sabeel Spring Witness Visit March 12 –March 20, 2009: The trip includes visits to communities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel, with 3 nights in Jerusalem, 3 in Bethlehem, and 2 nights in the Galilee. The trip provides an opportunity to meet with Palestinian Christian and Muslim leaders of civic and religious organizations and Israeli advocates for justice. Participants will hear directly from Palestinian Christians and share in worship with this community.
Sabeel Young Adult Conference July 22 –August 2, 2009: This conference, for young adults between the ages 18 and 30, includes visits to Palestinian and Israeli towns and villages, events celebrating Palestinian culture, worship and Biblical reflections, volunteer experiences, advocacy workshops, and sharing experiences and ideas with Palestinian young adults.
Sabeel Fall Witness Visit October 28 –November 5, 2009
For more information please go to the Sabeel website or the Friends of Sabeel North America website.
Local Sabeel Events:
Sabeel is hosting an ecumenical Christmas dinner on December 19, 2008 in East Jerusalem, Beit Hanina. Guests include Jerusalem clergy and members of the local Christian community. Two hundred guests are expected to come this Friday.
Weekly Bible studies for the Sabeel youth will continue throughout 2009.
Activities for the Sabeel Men's, Women's, Clergy, and Youth groups will also continue throughout 2009 (for more information please go to the Sabeel website).
Global Ministries International Partners in Israel-Palestine:
Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center (Jerusalem) is an ecumenical grassroots liberation movement among Palestinian Christians. It's an ecumenical center for Palestinian Liberation Theology which seeks to make the Gospel contextually relevant. In Arabic Sabeel means "the way" and also a "spring of water." Sabeel strives to develop a spirituality based on justice, peace, nonviolence, liberation and reconciliation for the different national and faith communities. Sabeel also works to promote a more accurate international awareness regarding the identity, presence, and witness of Palestinian Christians. The Center is located in Jerusalem where the majority of programs take place with participants from Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah and surrounding areas. http://www.sabeel.org/
The East Jerusalem YMCA was established in 1949 in a tent at Aqabat Jaber Refugee Camp, near Jericho and operates with all sectors of our Palestinian Society without discrimination. The East Jerusalem YMCA operates a variety of programs and functions related directly to the needs of Palestinian society in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Aqabat Jaber refugee camp, Beit Sahour, Gaza, Nablus, Hebron, Jenin, and Tulkarem. http://www.ej-ymca.org/site/
The YWCA of Palestine is an ecumenical grassroots movement serving women of all faiths. The main aims are to promote women's full and equal participation at all levels of society through leadership opportunities and training; to work for social and economic justice through development and advocacy programs; and to mobilize women's collective power for action on issues of vital concern: women's rights, justice, equality, freedom, the dignity of human beings and integrity of their environment. Programs include vocational training programs; training courses in Computer skills, hairdressing and language; children and youth activities such as summer camps; social and cultural activities; income generating projects; and advocacy work in areas such as human rights. The YWCA headquarters are in Jerusalem. There are three local associations in Jerusalem, Jericho and Ramallah, and three centers in refugee camps: Aqabat Jabr, Jalazone and Kalandia. http://www.ywca-palestine.org/
Rawdat el-Zuhur (Arabic for "Garden of Flowers") is a primary school for Palestinian children in East Jerusalem. Established in 1952, it aims at bringing up a new generation that is aware of the principles of good citizenship, and concerned for the environment; capable of thinking creatively, and analyzing logically and critically, offering and accepting positive criticism, and excelling in performance; and equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to assume leadership in a democratic society which they would develop and preserve. It serves mainly the lower income community. Students at Rawdat el-Zuhur can be supported through the Common Global Ministries Board's Child Sponsorship Program. http://www.rawdat.org/
Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees of the Middle East Council of Churches was set up in the early 1950s to help Palestinian refugees with their newly acquired status following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The Department set up branches in five different regions: Gaza, Jerusalem and West Bank, Galilee in Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon, with the clear mandate of working with the refugees, the poor, and the dispossessed. http://www.mec-churches.org/main_eng.htm
Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza of the Episcopal Diocese in Jerusalem was established in 1882 by the Church of Mission Society and is located in the Gaza Strip area of Palestine. It became a service ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem in 1982, and continues to provide important medical and surgical care to all people of the Gaza Strip. Over 60 percent of the Strip's residents live in refugee camps, and a significant portion of the hospital's care is charitable as they serve a community of exceptionally poor citizens. Al-Ahli has also responded to the needs of the victims of crises, including providing medical treatment to those involved in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict.
Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) supports Palestinians and Israelis working for peace by monitoring and reporting violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, offering protection by accompanying local communities in daily activities, and by advocating with churches for a peaceful end to the Occupation. The programme, which began in 2002, is coordinated by the World Council of Churches (WCC). http://www.eappi.org/
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Lectionary Text and Prayers for Zimbabwe: Luke 2:1-14
During this time of Christmas, we ask that the Good News of great joy would really be for all the people, including those who are suffering in Zimbabwe at this moment. We pray for:
- those who are suffering from the cholera epidemic and for those who have lost loved ones due to this disease.
- clean water and food for the population.
- a resolution to the current political situation that would produce good for all the people of Zimbabwe.
- our church partners in Zimbabwe who are attempting to reach out and meet needs of many who are experiencing difficulties due to the economic situation.
- the personnel and work at the Mt Selinda and Chikore hospitals.
- the personnel and work at the Bongani Child Care Center.
To read Sandra Gourdet's recent trip report on the situation in Zimbabwe, click here:
(Prayer by Bob Shebeck)
Global Ministries International Partners in Zimbabwe:
Christian Care: Christian Care was formed in 1967 by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches tasked to improve the quality of life of the disadvantaged, including refugees. As an arm of the church Christian Care is called to witness the presence of God among the poor and disadvantaged who are burdened by oppression, poverty, ill health, lack of freedom or knowledge to make sustainable life-supporting choices.Before Zimbabwe's political independence in 1980, Christian Care was concerned with relief of families of political prisoners and the prisoners themselves. This program reached out to about 5000 people. Other relief program included drought relief, special emergencies, an essential service for people displaced by escalating war which peaked around 1975 with the establishment of protected/consolidated villages. Shortly after independence, Christian Care was heavily involved in post war reconstruction. In 1985 the organization broadened its mandate to include rural development. Projects to date have included disaster relief programs, dam construction and irrigation development, integrated rural development programs, water and sanitation, livestock restocking, HIV/AIDS, gender, advocacy and income generating projects.
United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe: The United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe (UCCZ) was founded in 1893 by the American Board of Foreign Missions, predecessor mission program of the United Church of Christ. Global Ministries works closely with this partner church in the many facets of its ministry in Zimbabwe. The denominational membership today is approximately 30,000 people in 47 churches and several preaching points and worship groups. The UCCZ has worked ecumenically on important efforts in Zimbabwe and is responsible for many schools and several health institutions in the country.The church's mission is to promote Christian living and to relate humankind to the larger body of Christ through teaching, healing, stewardship, preaching, and farming. The church revolves around the core values of hard work and self-reliance, and works to eradicate poverty and disease through technical and vocational life skills training for survival, and integrated participatory community-based development.
Zimbabwe Council of Churches: The Zimbabwe Council of Churches has been in partnership with Global Ministries since 1964. The council has twenty member churches, nine associate member churches, and two observer members. The Zimbabwe Council of Churches' mission is to meet the needs of their communities, proclaim the gospel, develop their capacity to be self-sustaining, and to speak with one voice on issues of national interest.
Zimbabwe Synod-UCCSA: The Zimbabwe Synod is one of five synods comprising the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa. It is located in Bulawayo with congregations and schools throughout Matabeleland. The church's greatest constraint is the economic and political situation prevailing throughout the country. As a result of this situation, ordinary Zimbabweans suffer greatly. The migration of the youth and other members of the work force is taking its toll on the church and communities where the churches are located.
United Theological College, Harare: United Theological College is an interdenominational institution whose purpose is to train quality pastors and teachers of the Christian gospel for churches in Zimbabwe and the region. The College seeks to prepare students to understand and articulate the Bible's transforming holistic and prophetic message to individuals, families, groups and society at large. The college recruits qualified and experienced Christian lecturers who are committed to excellence in teaching and research. United Theological College is the largest ecumenical theological training school in Zimbabwe run by seven participating churches namely: Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe, United Congregational Church in Southern Africa, Uniting Presbyterian Church and African Methodist Episcopal church. United Theological College (UTC) was founded in 1954 as an institution of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, situated on part of the Epworth Mission Farm and named Epworth College. It became an Ecumenical Protestant Seminary in 1955 when the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, The United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe, the Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa and the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (therein called the participating churches) resolved to co-operate in sponsoring the college for the training of pastors and other church workers. In 1976 the name was changed to United Theological College.
Global Ministries Missionary in Zimbabwe:
None at this time
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Lectionary Text and Prayers for Thailand: John 1:6-8, 19-28
O God of all nations—
Whose mercy is unfailing
and Whose love is steadfast and everlasting,
You are our refuge and strength
in times of prosperity and joy,
in times of trouble and despair!
We thank you for the kingdom and the people of Thailand.
We thank you for its glorious past
for its past prosperity and peace
for its wise and compassionate rulers
who have allowed the preaching of the gospel go unhindered,
We pray for King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the current king,
that he may continue to enjoy good health,
so that he may be able to see the fulfillment of his visions
and compassionate projects for the people of Thailand.
Now the kingdom faces uncertain future.
There is some dissatisfaction in the land,
causing chaos, disarray and fear.
More than ever, we need your help!
We pray for those who govern this kingdom.
Give them wisdom to rule justly,
Give them patience to listen without prejudice,
Give them compassion to serve the needy,
Give them courage to uphold the right,
And give them strength to follow the truth.
We also remember the Thais who have special needs--
- the poor who are in search for daily food,
- the ethnic people who constantly face prejudice,
- the HIV-AIDS sufferers who increasingly live in hopelessness,
- the refugees who are unwelcome, living in anxiety and homesickness,
- the unreached in the hinterlands who are twisted by fear and superstition,
- and the people who go to share the healing faith, hope and love of Jesus Christ.
All these we humbly pray in faith and with thanksgiving, in Christ's name. Amen
(Prayer by Salvador T. Martinez)
Global Ministries International Partners in Thailand:
McGilvary College of Divinity at Payap University is dedicated to preparing quality leadership for the Christian church in Thailand and in the region with its international program. Payap University is a Christian institution that offers an excellent education and training in a variety of subjects. Both Payap University and McGilvary are attended by students from several nations of Southern Asia in addition to Thailand, including China, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Recently, Global Ministries missionary, Salvador T. Martinez, has spent fourteen years teaching at McGilvary and directing the International M. Div. Program.
The Church of Christ in Thailand has active programs in HIV/AIDS education and prevention. They also are providing vocational training to tribal women in the hope that this will reduce the numbers of women joining the sex industry
The Thai Burma Border Consortium provides only basic food and shelter for refugee populations, but the need exceeds the available assistance. They have estimated that as many as 600,000 Burmese are internally displaced persons (IDPs) The Burmese Army destroys homes in areas where they have found ethnic resistance and as a result the population flees to resettlement sites. Many of these IDPs are used for forced labor and many flee the country becoming refugees by crossing the border into Thailand. The Consortium has reported that this year has seen the worst human rights abuses across the border since 1997. They are seeking support for their Emergency Rice Assistance Program. Thailand does not wish to accept any more refugees and would like to begin repatriation of those already in Thailand. The situation in Burma (Myanmar) has not substantially improved, however, and although repatriation will be an issue at some point, it does not seem likely to happen soon.
Global Ministries Missionary in Thailand:
Salvador T. Martinez, a member Silliman University Church of United Church of Christ in the Philippines, has been appointed to serve the Church of Christ in Thailand through 4/30/09. He has been teaching ethics, theology and church history at McGilvary College of Divinity, Payap University since 1993 and has been directing the International M. Div. Program of the College since 2004. He has also helped in the HIV-AIDS ministry of the Church of Christ in Thailand.