Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Recommended Congregational Actions for Peace - September 27-28, 2014

This week we continue our recommendations for Metropolitan Chicago Synod congregations.

PRAY – At a time of near unequaled violence in the Middle East, continue prayers for brothers and sisters in Gaza who live with a very fragile break in hostilities, and to observe one minute of silence during Sunday worship as requested by ELCA Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. You might also consider using this prayer from Shelley West, Church of the Brethren.

Peace be still and know that I am God.
I have known that You are God, but not through a peace of stillness.
Sometimes peace is loud. Often peace is messy.
But that’s what makes it beautiful.
The conflict in our lives will remain forever still if we leave it in the corner unbothered.
We can pretend to turn a blind eye, to march onward.
Peace be still.
Or, we can choose the challenge. The rewarding challenge.
To know that You are God is to know that You are with us in the storm.
Stirring the waters seems frightening. The thunder roars and the rivers are swift.
But we’ve got peace like a river, especially when the ripples spread and oscillate
And we can look at one another and know that we have survived.
We have thrived in the peace that comes from confronting conflict and working through it.
Pray that we might continue with such a boldness
To be able to identify areas in our lives where we can be the ground-shakers,
The confidence in Your plan and us as Your instruments to blow away the dust,
And the reassurance that the peacemakers will be called Your children.
We will be called Your children.
And then, we can be still and know that You are God.
-Shelley West, Church of the Brethren

With the devastating conflict facing Arabs and Christians in the Middle East, we suggest that there is no one more reliable source to direct our study and prayer than Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) and President of Lutheran World Federation. Please find his response to the violence at "Ecumenical Response to the Present Middle East Crisis - by Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan, ELCJHL".

ADVOCACY - Continued advocacy is needed on behalf of Augusta Victoria Hospital and the other East Jerusalem hospitals. Please consider sending another note to your representatives with a link and invitation to watch the video called “Sanctuary, Healing in a Holy Land, Augusta Victoria Hospital”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUgaxEkf9Pc . It gives a great overview of the work of AVH and the Lutheran World Federation in Jerusalem. The hospital continues to provide life-saving health care to Palestinians but is facing a critical financial situation. The essential medical services provided by the hospital are currently threatened by a financial crisis caused by the non-payment of fees for patients that are referred to the hospital by the Palestinian Authority. The debt is now EUR 18 million.

ACT – An invitation from Bishop Wayne N. Miller, Metropolitan Chicago Synod of the ELCA:

On Thursday evening, October 2, 2014, the ELCA congregations of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod, in partnership with our churchwide ministries staff, will host a revival to pray for peace in our homes, peace in our communities, and peace in our world. The event will be held at the Kroc Center of Chicago (1250 W. 119th St., Chicago, IL 60643) at 7:15 p.m. The date has been chosen specifically to coincide with the fall meeting of the ELCA Conference of Bishops. The 66 bishops of our church will be present and will participate in a prayer ministry at the revival. In a time when the whole creation cries out for peace with justice, please join us as we make this public witness, commending ourselves and our lives to God, so that we may become the instruments of God’s wholeness, respect, and reconciliation.

Rev. Joanne Fitzgerald, WGME Convener
Pastormom97@sbcglobal.net