Urgent appeal for Middle East

Urgent Appeal: A Shower of Prayer, Solidarity, and Blessing

To:
Mennonite World Conference Member-Churches
21 September 2014
 
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
 
We greet you in the name of the resurrected Christ, the Prince of Peace.
 
We are including with this letter (click here for pdf copy):
1)    Urgent Appeal from the Supreme Council of the Evangelical Community in Syria and Lebanon.” (attachment)
2)    A Statement from the Middle East Council of Churches; (attachment)
3)    A letter written by MWC to the Supreme Council – for your information. (attachment)
4)    A letter written by MWC to the Middle East Council of Churches (attachment)
5)    Two Links to an appeal and information by His Beatitude Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate of Babylon (the largest Christian organization in Iraq);
6)    A Link to an appeal from 55 National Groups, Academics, and Ministers in the USA to President Obama; http://saint-adday.com/permalink/6501.html
 
We encourage you to read these documents carefully. They paint a grim and urgent reality.
These are our brothers and sisters in faith.
 
In the “Urgent Appeal from the Supreme Council of the Evangelical Community” they are declaring a “State of Emergency” (cf. #6) “to preserve what remains of the Christian and moderate non-Christian presence in the East, and to circumvent its complete demise” (cf. #6).
They identify the possibility of the “annihilation of Christian Presence in the Middle East” (cf. #7).
They are “most concerned,” however, with the “human suffering and political difficulties” faced in these countries (cf. #1). 
They suggest a series of actions that are urgent: both shorter and longer-term.
 
Even though MWC has sent the attached letter, we suggest that each MWC-member-church consider writing a brief letter directly to the Supreme Council (suprcoun@minero.net; habibadr12@gmail.com), and to the Middle East Council of Churches (micheloam@hotmail.com; mecc.dsj@gmail.com;) assuring them of your prayers, and identifying particular actions that you are doing in response to their appeal. We would appreciate if you would cc. your letter of support to MWC as well (rjsuderman@mwc-cmm.org).
 
We believe that such a “shower of prayer, solidarity, and blessing” will be highly appreciated by them. They will be strengthened just knowing that there are churches around the world praying for them and acting on their behalf.
 
The Apostle Paul teaches us to:
  Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).
Often in situations such as this, it is the sense of loneliness and lack of evident support from others that is most discouraging. Let us bear these burdens together.
 
It may also be important for your church to know how some churches, through MCC (Mennonite Central Committee), are working in Lebanon, Syrian, and the Middle East. Please do take time to learn about this at:
September 21 is the International Day of Peace, and MWC has provided some worship resources to help us remember to pray and work for peace. These can be found at:
 
The “Urgent Appeal” states that: “Divine love, incarnate on the cross, causes in us deep sadness and move us to prayer” (cf. #12). The Appeal also indicates that “Our hope is that you act swiftly before it is too late” (cf. #13).
Let us assure these brothers and sisters of prayers and actions on their behalf.
 
May God grant mercy to those who suffer the pain of torture, kidnapping, murder, rape, and loss of home;
May God transform the hearts and imaginations of those who instill violence and injustice;
May God give wisdom to those of us who feel helpless and who cry with the saints under the altar of heaven: “how long” (Revelation 6:5-6);
May God make us instruments of peace in a world of misguided paths of justice.  
 
 
Robert Suderman                                                                                Cesar Garcia   
Secretary Peace Commission                                                           General Secretary
Mennonite World Conference                                                            Mennonite World Conference