Minister and President invites members to join in prayers, advocacy, support for religious and ethnic groups in Northern Iraq


8/13/2014

Massachusetts Conference Minister and President Jim Antal is inviting members of the Conference to join together in prayers, advocacy and support for the plight of Christians, Yazidis and other religious and ethnic groups in Northern Iraq.

Request for Prayers and Advocacy from the World Council of Churches

Antal refers interested readers to the open letter written by Dr. Isabel Apawo Phiri, associate general secretary of the World Council of Churches, which says in part:

"I am writing to solicit your prayers for the Christians, the church communities and all the suffering people on the Plain of Nineveh in northern Iraq, as well as the surrounding region. Reports in recent days have confirmed the forced displacement and indiscriminate killing of Christians, Yazidis, and members of other vulnerable religious and ethnic communities in Iraq as the result of military attacks by the “Islamic State”, a group formerly known as the “Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham” (ISIS)."

"I have communicated with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki Moon, urging him to deploy all efforts to bring a halt to the violence in Iraq and to ensure the physical protection of all people there and support for their human rights including the right to religious liberty. Now I ask for your support, in prayer and advocacy."

Phiri goes on to list specific advocacy steps that can be taken. Read the full letter here. 

Humanitarian Efforts

According to Antal, the United Church of Christ is working with the Presbyterian Church of Iraq and also with the ACT Alliance (a worldwide consortium of churches related to the World Council of Churches for disaster, development and refugee work). ACT is currently in the process of: 
  • Securing clean and sufficient emergency water supply for 12,500 internally displaced persons (IDP) and host community families in the Kurdish controlled areas of the Nineveh plain, north and east of Mosul.
  • Ensuring a further 2-months' food security for 2,500 IDP families in the Nineveh plain.
  • Providing psycho-social services and trauma counselling for 5,000 IDPs in the Nineveh plain
  • Providing emergency food relief to 3,000 families in the Kurdish region of Iraq, and providing non-food item assistance to 400 vulnerable internally displaced households.
  • Distributing health and hygiene kits to improve sanitation and promote the personal dignity of 400 vulnerable IDP households in the Kurdish region.
  • Paying cash assistance to 439 households (43 households in the Kurdish region and 396 households in Karbala region of Iraq) to help support the most vulnerable families meet their priority needs.
This work was made possible by previous gifts to the UCC's Wider Church Mission. Those who wish to support ongoing humanitarian efforts in Iraq can give online to UCC International Emergency Relief, designating to “Iraq Displaced Peoples.”
 



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