Thursday, November 10, 2011

4 Ways to help The Persecuted Church

This week along with thousands of others, our church has marked the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. However, we are called to accompany our prayers with action. In fact, successful action is always built on prayer. Prayerful action on behalf of the persecuted church can be highly effective. Here are 4 suggestions of ways in which you can get involved. These can be used by individuals, families, housegroups, or amongst friends.

1) Pray for a persecuted church leader and then send them a Christmas card to assure them that they haven’t been forgotten. Details of how to do this, and a downloadable directory of addresses are here:

2) Sign a petition to pressure Western governments to raise human rights issues in their dealings with countries where abuses occur. The “No Way Out” petition for religious freedom in Egypt is online here:

3) Write a campaigning letter to someone responsible for mistreatment of Christians. In many cases, officials lack the courage to enforce the freedoms which their country’s law provides for freedom of worship. Letters can embolden them to act justly. Follow this link for details of how to write to the Mayor of Bogor, Indonesia, urging him to allow the re-opening of church-premises there.

4) Send a gift to support to Christians suffering for their faith. Specific gifts are available for purchase online and include: (i) a day of provision for refugee children in Burma for £5, (ii) a day of training in documenting human rights abuses for the churches in Columbia, for £5, (iii) pay for a phone call to be made to an illegally imprisoned Cuban pastor for £15, (iv) pay for Christmas cards to be sent to 40 widows of murdered pastors in Columbia for £10. Follow the link

Dr Garcia Paneque was held in Cuban jails for many years, during which he was featured in Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s letter-writing campaigns. Now in exile in Spain he writes: "You cannot imagine the value of a postcard sent to someone in my situation, and thanks to God, it’s like a message from a Father who never abandons his children, not even in the worst of moments. This is how the postcards, sent from the UK, made me feel." This is valuable work.

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