If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it. (I Corinthians 12:26)
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
We are a Communion that is active through our membership in many ways in a variety of contexts. We witness our members being the lone, prophetic voice speaking truth despite risks; acting steadfastly for the “other” in the face of great odds; bringing comfort and support to those who suffer; being the very presence of the risen Christ in our shattered world.
In the last week alone we have heard from member churches in all of these situations. As a Communion we are called to be supportive of each other in prayer and action. And so we wish to raise these dear sisters and brothers up to you, to hold in prayer, to bolster through outreach, to support through assistance.
Operation Lava Jato, which has seen dozens of politicians and businessmen charged with corruption, has increased political tensions throughout the country. The United Presbyterian Church of Brazil has issued a statement that notes the endemic corruption of Brazilian political and economic systems, supports the on-going investigation but cautions against the unethical leaks and political targeting of suspects, condemns the use of trial by media as a tool in the investigations and says that “true justice comes from God and that all human justice is incomplete and imperfect, but must be constantly sought.” The Church also calls God’s people to meet “permanently in prayer for our country.” Wertson Brasil, ruling elder and moderator of the coodinating council of the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil can be reached at: email@example.com
Refugees from Syria and other war-torn regions of the Middle East have been making their way to Greece as a first step into the European Union. Recent border closures between Greece and its northern neighbours have resulted in refugees being trapped in makeshift camps. The Evangelical Church in Greece (ECG) has responded with humanitarian assistance. Its church in Milotopo, for instance, has provided warm clothing, food, and 2000 kilos of wood to burn during the night as temperatures fall to freezing. Dimitrios Boukis, ECG general secretary, can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A small, remote, Christian village in the interior Cachar district (southern Assam) of India was devastated by a cyclone on 10 March. The Reformed Presbyterian Church North East India reports that over two dozen homes were destroyed, two churches severely damaged and banana groves devastated. Immediate assistance is needed in the form of temporary shelter, clothes and food while longer term recovery efforts will need building materials. Please be in touch with Rev. Dr. V. Lalnghakthang, general secretary: email@example.com
Syria and Lebanon
At its meeting outside of Beirut last May, the WCRC Executive Committee renewed the Communion’s commitment to the entire region and called for “violence to cease in Syria.” There are now faint glimmers of hope that these prayers will be answered. Our sisters and brothers in the region report that relief supplies are being delivered, some displaced people are returning home, a temporary cease fire is holding and solidarity visits from the United Church of Christ (USA) and the Uniting Church in Sweden offered support and hope. And yet the challenges remain—for a lasting peace, for reconciliation, for resettlement and rebuilding.
As we journey through Lent in our own contexts but also together as a Communion committed to justice let us uphold not only these sisters and brothers but each and all of us within our World Communion so that all may have life in abundance.
Blessings on you,