We're on ... well, not a summer holiday, but a summer break, where we have slightly more relaxed deadlines and can spend time on longer-term projects. We look forward to returning for the Autumn when we send out our email for the week of 30 August.
In the meantime, we wanted to send you three things:
We hope they're useful ... and that your August is full of blessings. Please also note that Time for Creation - which runs from 1 September to 4 October - will soon be upon us. Links to materials for Time for Creation are in the Pray and Fast website's resources section. Might your church start planning a climate-related prayer event for 1 September, 4 October, 1 November and/or the period from 29 November to 12 December?
Some Thoughts for August Sundays
- 2nd August: Pray and Fast (see attached) - South Sudan - People at Calais - Ebola
The Pray & Fast prayer points cover a variety of environmental topics. They can be used this Sunday ... or indeed at any point throughout August.
We'd also recommend prayers for an end to the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, and for those who have been affected by it. The horrific violence has left millions displaced and at risk from hunger and disease. President Obama and African leaders met this past week and have emphasised that the warring parties have a deadline of 17 August to accept a final offer in peace negotiations. Pray for a change of heart among those who make war; for peace with justice; for all churches, agencies and good neighbours who are working to help those affected; and for all who have suffered or are suffering in the conflict.
Refugees from Sudan and South Sudan are among those attempting to cross the Mediterranean (more people died attempting the crossing this week) and at Calais. Pray for safety, wisdom and hope for all who are seeking asylum and/or hoping to make a better life in a new country, especially those currently in Calais. Pray for wisdom, understanding and compassion for media and politicians considering responses to their situation. Pray that all of us may be part of changing the discourse around migration into one that recognises the dignity of each person and the reality of their needs.
Give thanks for the extremely encouraging trial results of a new Ebola vaccine, for the scientists who have used their gifts in order to produce it, and those who received it as part of the trial. Pray for the trial's next steps.
Further reading: Kadugli Diocese Newsletter; Human Rights Watch report on conflict in Unity State; "Our Tribe is Women" - Statement and video from the women of South Sudan.
Prayers: For South Sudan ... for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers
- 9th August: Indigenous Peoples
“In the name of development we [indigenous people and those working with them] can't escape, we can't keep quiet. They [companies] have come to take our land, our forest, natural resources, water, food sovereignty …. in the name of the development, we have to sacrifice.”
“For them [indigenous peoples] community is the only language they know – but that is broken. And gradually these people ... are afraid they will be annihilated.”
Earlier this year, we were with some courageous Roman Catholic sisters who were working with indigenous communities whose livelihoods and ways of life were threatened by mining operations.
Around the world - from Australia to Brazil to Colombia to India to the Philippines to the US - indigenous peoples are suffering because of other people's desire to exploit the natural resources these traditional communities steward. As we celebrate the International Day of the World's Indigenous People (9 August), pray for indigenous communities (and those who work with them) as they labour to protect their rights, their communities and their environment.
- 16th August: Humanitarian Workers
The UN has designated the 19th of August as World Humanitarian Day, a day to celebrate the activity of (and give thanks/pray for) those who bring humanitarian assistance to others.
At a time when so many different crisis situations are requiring humanitarian assistance, it's also a good chance to pray that governments, businesses, agencies and individuals will find ways of meeting the needs of those affected.
The UN generally provides superb videos of humanitarian workers in action, as well as other materials that illustrate what humanitarian workers from the various UN agencies are doing. Like mission, humanitarian work now involves people from everywhere going to everywhere - it can be really inspiring to see what's involved. You might also wish to see what the mission and development agencies you support can offer by way of information about their humanitarian staff and to pray for their work.
- 23rd August: Modern Slavery
The 23rd of August is the day designated internationally for people to remember the slave trade and its abolition ... except that while the historic slave trade was abolished in the 19th century, human trafficking and modern slavery are still blighting the lives of millions of people. The 23rd of August, therefore, offers a real opportunity to:
- give thanks for the work of Christians such as William Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson and Olaudah Equiano in fighting slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries
- pray for those who suffer today because of modern slavery
- pray for all who are currently working to end human trafficking and modern slavery
Some recommended prayer resources include:
The UK's Modern Slavery Act came into effect on 31 July. You may wish to include prayers that it will be implemented wisely - and will help to end slavery and restore dignity and freedom to victims.