Uniting in prayer for the persecuted church…Posted: September 19, 2014
UNITING IN PRAYER FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH, IN THE SPIRIT OF ONENESS THAT CHRIST COMMANDED: ‘FOR IF ONE SUFFERS, WE ALL SUFFER.’
A guest posting by Dr. Joe Geary, Superintendent of the Paris District of the Memphis Annual Conference
“O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted: you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”
Psalm 10:17-18 ESV
Bishop William T. McAlilly and the Nashville Area Cabinet took action at the most recent cabinet meeting to commend prayer for the persecuted church (especially in the Middle East), and to invite our United Methodist people to address the refugee crisis caused by terror and war through their giving.
According to a statement issued by the General Board of Global Ministries of the UMC, “Alleviation of human suffering and advocacy for justice and peace—two goals of the United Methodist mission, dramatically come together in church responses to thousands of people being displaced and slaughtered by civil conflict in Syria and Iraq.
The self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) has targeted ethnic and religious minorities for apparent extinction. To date, the United Methodist Committee on Relief has provided $170,000 in emergency assistance to communities pushed north by IS. The UMCOR assists those in need without regard to religion, race or national origin. The Islamic State is persecuting Christians known in the particular area as Nazarenes, Chaldeans or Assyrians. However, their persecution is not limited to Christians as Kurds, Turkmen, Yazidis, Zoroastrians and other branches of Islam are systematically eliminated.”
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Click here to read the GBGM statement and give greater detail to our response. Please view the link to UMCOR INTERNATIONAL DISASTER RESPONSE, ADVANCE #982450 and give your people an opportunity to support the humanitarian response to the needs of the refugees displaced by IS.
Also, view the links related to the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH, NOVEMBER 9, 2014. PLEASE OBSERVE THE IDOP IN YOUR CONGREGATION(S). THESE LINKS PROVIDE WITH YOU WITH PRAYER AND WORSHIP RESOURCES FROM THE GENERAL BOARD OF DISCIPLESHIP OF THE UMC.
Above all, resist the temptation to hate or stereotype another religion or ethnicity. Instead, stand by the persecuted church with prayer and practical assistance and look for every way to commend the Prince of Peace, Jesus the Christ, to the world through Word and Deed.
Educate your United Methodist people that our leaders do take the persecuted church in the Mideast and everywhere in the world seriously; and are providing leadership to our people in the midst of this crisis. Share with your people the actions aforementioned as evidence of this leadership; and when combined by yours at the local level, it will make a difference.
“Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”
-Hebrews 13:3 ESV