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OSJ Prayers

Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott

Forty-three-year-old Keith Lamont Scott was fatally shot by a police officer outside an apartment complex, setting off protests, some of which turned violent, in Charlotte, North Carolina. This came just days after 40-year-old Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man whose car had broken down, was killed by a police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Scott and Crutcher are the most recent in a long list of black people who have been killed by police officers, raising cries for policies that address systemic racism and police practices in the United States.

Lord, in the wake of the loss of more black lives, we cry out in desperate prayer. Awaken us, our churches, and our policy makers, to the importance of this moment. Help us to reflect on the history of racial violence in the United States and how it continues to affect our present, because it is in a common memory that we will find community as sisters and brothers in Christ. Help us listen to each other, believe each other, and lift up each other’s voices. Help us to change this story.

Summit

At the high-level United Nations Summit on Monday, the governments of 193 countries adopted commitments to the protection of millions of people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes. They also agreed to share responsibility for the millions of migrants and to safeguard their rights. Fifty-two countries and organizations announced important commitments: to increase their total financial contributions this year, to roughly double the number of refugees they resettle, and to create improved access to education for refugee children. The world is facing its biggest refugee crisis in recorded history.

God, we pray for leaders who are attempting to create a united and effective response to the desperate situation of refugees and migrants all over the world. May your church find its place in this story, offering welcome and creating communities that celebrate the changes and the gifts that refugees bring. We pray for an end to the persecution of people, which forces so many to leave their homes.

Syria

Eighteen trucks delivering aid to 78,000 people in western Aleppo province were bombed earlier this week, killing at least 20 persons. This came as a ceasefire deal went into effect for both sides of the Syrian civil war. One of the goals of the deal was to safely deliver much-needed aid to Syrians. The U.S. has accused Russia of the bombing, but Russia has denied this claim. This likely will create tension between the two countries behind the creation of the ceasefire deal.

God, we plead for peace in Syria, for relief to all who are suffering so greatly, and for your Holy Spirit to intervene in the political process affecting this war-torn nation. We long to see signs of hope in Syria.

Congo

Dozens of people died in the Democratic Republic of Congo earlier this week when violent protests erupted after the country’s election commission announced a postponement of the presidential election. Joseph Kabila took over as the country’s president in 2001, and his term officially ends in December; however, nothing has been done to plan an election that is supposed to be scheduled for November. The election commission stated it would not set a date for the vote, prompting many to take to the streets to demonstrate.

O God, for the people of the Congo—who are created in your image, who have dignity and a voice, who have withstood hunger, disease, and violence for too long—we lift our prayers. We pray for safety during these demonstrations, and for the emergence of leaders who will respect the dignity of all who are oppressed in that country. We pray for good governance, for transparency, and for an end to corruption.


Celebrate Immigrants on World Communion Sunday!

World Communion Sunday is October 2! The Office of Social Justice, Office of Race Relations, and Worship Ministries invites your congregation to celebrate the blessings of immigrants to our communities during worship on this day. For a litany and other worship resources, click here. Resources are available in English, Spanish, and Korean.


Support Refugee Resettlement!

World leaders gathered this week to discuss a unified response to the global refugee crisis. Support their commitment to people fleeing violence and persecution. Click here to urge your representative or MP to support stronger refugee resettlement in the U.S. and Canada.


Restorative Practices for Congregations

Conflict can be an opportunity to build healthier, more restorative relationships. Gain skills in creating circles and a restorative culture, and become trained in restorative conferences.

October 4-6, Central Reformed Church, $200 (financial help available). Register at restorativepracticestraining.eventbrite.com