Friday, January 7, 2011
A New Year's Call to Prayer for Christians Under Attack
Received by email on January 7th from the Most Rev. Robert Wm. Duncan, Archbishop
Many of us have watched and read news reports about the attacks on Christians in Egypt and Nigeria as they gathered to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. We mourn the tragic loss of life inflicted by these heinous acts of violence. We stand in solidarity with our Anglican and Coptic brothers and sisters in the Middle East and Nigeria who regularly face religious persecution. While persecution is never welcome or pleasant, it is inevitable for those who seek to follow in the way of Jesus Christ. Jesus bids us to pick up our cross daily and follow after him and promises that we are blessed when we are persecuted for his name's sake.
In light of attacks on Christians in Egypt and Nigeria this Christmas and in Iraq this past October, I invite you to pray for Christians living in Southern Sudan this Sunday in your local parish. This Sunday (January 9, 2011) Christians living in Southern Sudan will be deciding whether to secede from the country of Sudan to form a new independent country. Many international observers expect that this referendum will result in a resurgence of violence in an area that has already faced Africa's longest civil war (more info).
Some 3 million Anglican Christians living in Southern Sudan are looking to us, their Anglican family in North America, to support them in prayer. Please join with me in praying for persecuted Christians in Southern Sudan and throughout the world this Sunday.
Almighty God, in these days of terrorism and persecution, strengthen Christian communities in Southern Sudan and throughout the world with your grace and comfort. May your Holy Spirit comfort the bereaved and heal the injured. And grant that the gospel message of love, forgiveness, and redemption would be proclaimed through word and deed. All this we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Faithfully your archbishop,