Each week of Lent we will pray for one of our projects. Sign up to our e-news and prayers to receive them each week to your inbox, or come back here each week for the current prayer points.
We Pray for St George's Church in Baghdad and their new School - Week 6
St George's Church is the only Anglican Church in Iraq and is found in Baghdad’s Red Zone. The Church has been damaged by five bombs in the past three years. Here is an insight into life at St George's Church from the Foundation for the Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME).
"Surrounded by blast walls and guarded by 35 soldiers, all worshippers are frisked on the way in, to detect and deter suicide bombers. A bus collects most members and brings them to the church, hoping to avoid kidnap. These are, however, preventative measures; the reality of violence remains. The congregation takes enormous risks, simply by coming here to worship. One Sunday, a would-be suicide bomber managed to get into the church building. Mercifully, they were removed by security before they could detonate their explosives. And yet, every week, several hundred local Iraqis do make the journey to St George’s Church. Its vibrant services, are full to overflowing. Its Sunday school is bursting at the seams." - FRRME
This week we pray for St George's Church and give thanks that Iraqi Christians can find joy, love, and support under its roof. We pray for safety for the congregation and staff of St George's Church, and give thanks that even in troubling times they can attend the Church together.
We also pray for the children of St George's Church. Currently after finishing their kindergarten years at the Church's own kindergarten, the children attend local schools. Pray for the safety of the children as they travel and attend school, and give thanks that soon they will be able to attend school within the security of the Church.
We Pray for the House of Sarah - Week 5
As well as providing counselling services to those in need, the House of Sarah has been providing training for women around Fiji.
The House of Sarah received a grant from the United Nations (UN) to fund workshops across Fiji. The workshops teach women basic knowledge and skills around topics such as: gender awareness, gender based and domestic violence, child abuse, rape, and sexual harassment. These women can then return to their communities and offer assistance when these issues arise. The workshops also teach UN Conventions on discrimination against women and children’s rights.
This week we pray for the women across Fiji who have been trained by the House of Sarah, that they will find the strength and bravery to tackle difficult issues in their families and communities when the need arrives. With their bravery and knowledge they can bring change to their communities and ensure safe environments for their families, friends, and neighbours.
We Pray for Gambella - Week 4
Gambella is growing and needs our help.
Each week over 6,000 people worship in 70 congregations led by 16 clergy in Gambella, a region in the west of Ethiopia.
Bishop Grant LeMarquand recently taught at the church about the woman who had given Jesus her wealth (her gift of costly ointment worth a year’s wages); had given her pride (in the ancient world only a slave could be required to attend to a person’s feet); and she had given her reputation (she had let down her hair to wash Jesus’ feet). As it came time for this church to give the offering; to the handfuls of grain and little one birr notes (worth six cents) that were laid on the mat were added the gifts of the women. One laid down her head scarf, the next her necklace of plastic beads, and one by one, women, who from a western perspective had ‘nothing’, came and brought their gifts - ‘costly’, because that was all they had.
It costs US$2200 to provide a salary to a priest in Gambella, that's about NZ$2660. The local churches have agreed to find USD$200 towards their priests, leaving US$2000/NZ$2420 still to find per priest. The USD$200 amount is going to be a difficult task for some churches in Gambella, but we can help to ease the Gambella people into supporting their clergy gently by supporting the rest of the salary.
This week we pray for the people of Gambella, for their physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing, and for the wellbeing of their churches and parishes.
We also pray for the clergy of Gambella as they lead their communities, that they are given wisdom to balance their work life, ministry life, and family life.
We Pray for St George's Church in Baghdad and their new School - Week 3
St George's Church has a wish to create a new generation far away from the culture of violence which is prevailing now in the country; a generation which enjoy love, peace, coexistence, and acceptance of others. The message that our Lord Jesus Christ calls us to practice in our lives. A generation which builds a new Iraq and serves the country in particular, and mankind in general. The planned school will allow their children to grow up in a loving environment, shaping the new generations for change.
This week we pray for the people of St George's Church in Baghdad and their chaplain Canon Andrew White. They face uncertainty in their everyday lives and we pray that they will be kept safe.
We also pray for the teachers in the Kindergarten, that God will bless their work and guide them as they teach the children who will be the future of Iraq. We pray for the children, that they find enjoyment and love in their education at Kindergarten and that this may continue through their school years with the development of the school.
We Pray for the House of Sarah - Week 2
Most of us don’t share our pain or distress easily. If we do, we will look for someone we can trust, who we know will listen without judgement or condemnation...
Presently there are two counsellors at the House of Sarah, Jaimala (photo top) and Deaconess Lesila (photo bottom), who extend a listening ear, warm heart, and a welcoming hand to those that come to the House seeking counselling. Together these women have attended to many women, girls, and a handful of men both at the House of Sarah and in their own respective communities since 2011.
The House of Sarah needs help to fund the counsellors Jaimala and Deaconess Lesila. With support from New Zealand, the House of Sarah can continue to provide their support to the people of Fiji.
This week we pray for the counsellors Jaimala and Deaconess Lesila at the House of Sarah. May God bless them as they seek to be a blessing to others.
We also pray for the the people who find comfort at the House of Sarah. May the hearts and ears of the staff at the House ease their troubles and help them work towards a brighter future.
We Pray for Gambella - Week 1
Bishop Grant LeMarquand shares with us about the need in Gambella.
The Gambella area of Ethiopia is a place where the church is growing, but it is also a place with astounding needs. Our 16 clergy (and about 90 Lay Readers) take care of about 70 congregations of Nuer, Anuak, Dinka, Opo, and Mabaan people. Most of our people are non-literate. The clergy, although they can read, have few resources. When my wife and I arrived a year ago, most of the clergy owned only one book - a Bible, and perhaps a hymn book. Only one has had formal residential theological education. Several are refugees, ministering in refugee camps which, sadly, are still seeing many new arrivals from the troubled border regions of Sudan and South Sudan. The churches themselves are only beginning to learn about the possibility of supporting their own clergy - most think it an impossible task for them. However at our Area Assembly (like a Synod for the Episcopal Area) a few months ago, they agreed to try to provide 10% of clergy salaries from the parish. They understood also that this is only a first step and that they will need in the long run to become self-supporting.
This week we pray for the people and church of Gambella. As the people in the congregations around Gambella transition towards supporting their clergy with a small salary, may support from New Zealand help to ease the burden for all. May the clergy find new freedom to support their congregations in this time of growth and transition.
We also pray for Bishop Grant LeMarquand, Assistant Bishop, as he works towards creating a brighter and sustainable future for the people and Church of the Horn of Africa.