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OSJ Prayers: February 1, 2019

You'll be seeing some changes to OSJ Prayers
in the coming weeks.

To better equip CRC people to work and pray for justice, the OSJ Prayers newsletter will now be posted on our joint blog with the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue, Do Justice, every Wednesday as Justice Prayers.

What does this mean for you as a Prayers subscriber?
You’ll still receive Prayers in your inbox every Wednesday, but now it will come through Do Justice. You’ll also receive other Do Justice posts every Monday and Friday to help you keep praying about justice issues throughout the week.

What do you need to do?
Just add dojustice@crcna.org to your address book and look for posts to arrive three times per week. You might want to star them or move them out of your promotions folder to make sure you see them.

Utility Company Filing for Bankruptcy Due to Climate Change

Pacific Gas and Energy, a California-based utility company, has filed for what’s being called the first “climate bankruptcy.” The utility company has struggled since taking blame for sparking the deadly Camp Fire that killed more than 85 people and devastated 240 square miles of the state of California in 2018, a fire exacerbated by a decade-long drought that most scientists agree was the effect of climate change.

God, we pray for grace, wisdom, and courage as we all adapt to the ways that climate change affects our lives. We pray for citizens and businesses whose budgets will be strained by increasing energy costs, for all who will face damages from storms, fires, and droughts, and for conscientious leaders who adapt laws and policies to build a future that does as much as possible to protect human beings and honor your created world.

U.S. and Taliban Working Out Details of a Peace Deal

American and Taliban officials have agreed in principle to the framework of a deal in which the insurgents would guarantee that Afghan territory is never used by terrorists. This could in turn lead to a full pullout of American troops, and in return the Taliban’s agreement to a cease-fire and direct talks with the Afghan government. After nine years of tumultuous efforts to reach a peace deal in Afghanistan, the draft framework, though preliminary, is the largest step toward ending a war that has cost tens of thousands of lives.

God, for all who have suffered in Afghanistan for so long, we offer our prayers for relief, for peace, and ultimately for justice in their lives. We pray for those who are hungry, sick, and in other ways vulnerable. And we pray for powerful leaders who arrange deals like these. Work through them, Lord, to free the people who suffer.

Thunder Bay Man Released after 4.5 Years in Solitary Confinement

A Thunder Bay, Ont., judge has issued a stay of proceedings in the case of Adam Capay, releasing the 26-year-old Lac Seul First Nation man who spent 4.5 years in solitary confinement. Mr. Capay is alleged to have stabbed and killed a fellow inmate at Thunder Bay Correctional Centre, the family of whom is dismayed by the decision of the judge. Mr. Capay’s lawyers argued that his lengthy and harsh stay in solitary during pretrial custody violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantee life, liberty, and security of the person and protect against arbitrary detention, cruel and unusual punishment, and discrimination.

God, for victims and perpetrators in situations where crimes have occurred, we offer prayers for restoration. We offer prayers for prisoners who are in solitary confinement, who are incarcerated for life sentences, who are lonely and isolated while imprisoned. Empower your church, Lord, to remember the prisoner.

Asylum at Dutch Church Ends with Residency for Refugees

After 96 days of continuous sermons and liturgy, Bethel Church in The Hague, the Netherlands, accomplished its goal of protecting an Armenian refugee family from deportation and raising awareness of the plight of other refugee families in the Netherlands. Earlier this week, the Dutch government reached an agreement to give residency rights to 630 child refugees – some of whom were born in the Netherlands and had never been to their parents’ country of origin. In October 2018, the Tamrazyan family and their three children were offered refuge by the Protestant church in The Hague for fear of deportation. In order to protect them, the church used a Dutch law originating in the Middle Ages, saying police may not enter a church during a service. With the help of 450 volunteer pastors of all denominations and lay preachers, they held continuous services for more than three months. The vigil has now officially concluded.

God, you are a sanctuary for people in need -- and that includes us. We celebrate with the Tamrazyan family, and we pray for hope and healing and newness of life. We pray for all who migrate, who are without protection, who fear deportation, whose lives hang in the balance as powerful politicians decide their fate. May your church offer hospitality in individual cases and advocate for hospitality in policymaking.

Do Justice Blog

“I admit that, given my context, these realities are inescapable; I cannot ignore them out of existence or pretend they never touched me.” Check out our Do Justice blog and read Melissa Stek’s full reflection, “Dear Church, Refuse to be in Denial,” about living in a racialized society.

Action Alert: Stand up for our Neighbors and Fund the Government Responsibly!

As negotiations continue for the United States federal government to be funded into Fiscal Year 2019, we as people of faith must hold fast to our identity and calling. The synod of the CRCNA has long advocated for a fair and just immigration system that honors the inherent dignity of immigrants and refugees. Call your Member of Congress today and ask them to fund the government responsibly by passing a budget that humanely secures our borders and protects immigrants and asylum seekers.

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