How your church can help
1. Please consider using this as an announcement in your bulletin:
When Syrian children get ready to return to school this fall, many will be carrying a weight much heavier than a backpack – memories of violence and worries about where they will live and what they will eat. Mennonite Central Committee is asking for contributions that will be used to lighten the burden of these children and their families by providing cash for rent, kits to meet basic needs, locally bought food and supplies as well as social and educational support. You may donate online, mcc.org/middleeastcrisis or by calling 1-888-563-4676..
2. Show the video of Bishop Jean Kawak, calling churches to act. It is available for streaming or download here.
3. Use this information sheet. It is available for download as a poster.
4. Incorporate one of the prayers below into your worship.
Prayer: With one heart
Almighty God, we pray today for all people of the Middle East, who face a time of change and uncertainty. With one mouth and one heart, together with our brothers and sisters there, we pray that God would console those who have lost loved ones.
We pray for strength for the church in the Middle East, that they might not give up hope in spite of all the challenges that lie ahead, but would instead hold steadfast to the faith of their ancestors and remain rooted in their homes and homelands. Safeguard their presence and invigorate their witness there.
We ask that people who have been driven apart by violence may come back to each other in love, tolerance, cooperation, and wisdom. We pray that changes in the region respect principles of justice, freedom, and human dignity.
Thank you for the challenges before us, Lord, as they present us with new opportunities to serve our neighbors. Give us each the courage to work for reconciliation and peace and to advocate all just causes.
Our faith gives us a living hope ever incarnate in the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us be witnesses to that faith, here and throughout the world. Amen.
This prayer was compiled by Sarah Adams, MCC representative for Lebanon and Syria, from recent prayers offered by church leaders in the two countries. (Feb. 21, 2012)
A responsive prayer for peace
Our Father in Heaven, holy is your name…
… we come to you, in awe of your holiness, in awe that you long for us to come to you, bringing our deepest prayers before you.
Your Kingdom come…
…reveal your Kingdom to us. Give us the courage to be ambassadors of justice and mercy, peacemakers here and around the world.
Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven…
…show us anew how to act justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with You, our God.
Give us this day, our daily bread…
…feed the hungry, Lord, and for those of us who have enough to eat, give hunger for justice, for mercy, for peace.
And forgive us our trespasses…
…forgive us our ignorance, our selfishness, and our inability to see the neighbour far away, the stranger near at hand.
As we forgive those who trespass against us…
…break our hearts Lord, as your heart is broken. Fill our hearts, Lord, with mercy and compassion for all, regardless of race or creed or religion.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…
…keep us from succumbing to the fear that hinders us from loving our enemies; help us seek truth beyond the mass media; deliver us from mistrust and hatred.
For Yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever…
…You are God, holy and just, loving and merciful. Help us to love others as you have first loved us. Help us to shine a light on the injustices in our world. Help us to be perfect as you are perfect. Bring your peace to our hearts, to our minds, to our world.
Written by Angelika Dawson, MCC B.C.
God of Compassion,
Hear the cries of the people of Syria,
Bring healing to those suffering from the violence,
Bring comfort to those mourning the dead,
Strengthen Syria's neighbors in their care and welcome for refugees,
Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms,
And protect those committed to peace.
God of Hope,
Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence and to seek reconciliation with enemies,
Inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria,
And give us hope for a future of peace built on justice for all.
We ask this through Jesus Christ,
Prince of Peace and Light of the World,
Source: Catholic Relief Services (used with permission)