OSJ Prayers: October 11, 2017

Canada to Compensate Thousands of Indigenous “Stolen Children”

The Canadian government has promised to pay up to $750 million as compensation to thousands of Indigenous people who were forcibly removed from their families when they were children. From the 1960s to the 1980s, 20,000 Indigenous children were taken from their homes and either placed in foster care or with non-Indigenous families. Indigenous peoples and activists have welcomed the move by the government to make restitution, saying that the forced removal deprived them of their heritage and resulted in a multitude of problems, including addictions and suicides.

God, we thank you for the Canadian government’s willingness to acknowledge the failures of the past and its efforts to provide restitution. You alone can heal the hurt of separation. We pray that your grace would work in the lives of the Indigenous people who were taken away as children so many years ago, as they deal with the impact of being torn from their families. May your Church continue to speak up for marginalized communities and be your hands and feet among them.

World Food Program Cuts Refugee Food Rations by Half in Uganda

The United Nations’ World Food Program was forced to temporarily cut its food rations for refugees in Uganda by half because of delayed payments. An influx of refugees from South Sudan fleeing violence paired with funding constraints has led to strained resources on the ground in Uganda. The country currently provides refuge to one million South Sudanese people; more than 86 percent of refugees in Uganda are women and children. The situation is dire, considering that the World Food Program already slashed its food rations for refugees by 50 percent in May of this year due to severe funding shortages.

God, for those who are affected by the cuts of food rations in Uganda, we ask for grace and peace. Work in the hearts of donors to provide the necessary funding for the continued care of refugees there. We also pray that your peace would prevail in the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, and that the systemic forces of oppression and violence would end. May your Church rise up to provide tangible support to these vulnerable people and demonstrate kindness and generosity.

U.S. EPA Administrator Announces Repeal of Clean Power Plan

On Tuesday, Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), formally announced plans to repeal the Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan was enacted in 2015 to provide standards that would reduce power plants’ carbon emissions and enable the United States to fulfill its commitment to the Paris Agreement. WIthout the Clean Power Plan in place, there are no formal regulations on power plants’ ability to pollute the atmosphere; currently, power plants are responsible for one-third of carbon emissions in the United States.

God, you are the Creator and Sustainer of all life on earth. We grieve the decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan and ask your forgiveness for not stewarding your creation well. We pray for the communities most affected by pollution and the entangled issues of environmental racism and injustice. May we as your Church take seriously our role as stewards of the earth and seek to care for your creation.

California Wildfires Destroy 122,000 Acres, Kill 17 People

In northern California, 17 major wildfires broke out over the span of 36 hours, burning through 122,000 acres; destroying 2,000 structures, including entire neighborhoods, wineries and vineyards, a trailer park, and a hotel; and taking the lives of at least 17 people. The governor of California has declared a state of emergency, evacuating more than 20,000 people. Cal Fire, California’s fire protection agency, noted that longer fire seasons and more intense fires are in “direct correlation to the climate changing.”

God, we pray for the people in California who have lost their homes and businesses and other property—sustain them and strengthen their hearts at this time. We pray for the firefighters on the front lines—protect them, that there may be no more loss of life. We pray for the families who have lost loved ones—comfort them with your grace and presence. We pray for our earth and the changing climate—show us how to have constructive conversations, and give our leaders the wisdom to craft good and just environmental policies.

‘For Such a Time as This’

CRC Worship Ministries, the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue, the Institute for Christian Studies, and First CRC Toronto are collaborating to produce an exciting workshop at First CRC Toronto, Ont., on Oct. 21 for musicians, worship leaders and planners, preachers, artists, justice workers, and anyone else! Prepare to be re-storied together, inspired for service, and knit together in community. The sign-up deadline is this Friday, Oct. 13—register now!

Fill the Gap: Give a Gift This Christmas!

World Renew’s 2017-18 Gift Catalog is now available! The gift catalog features items such as nutrition kits, water filters, goats, plows, and emergency supplies. Browse the catalog here and pray about how you or your church might be a part of standing in the gap this Christmas for people who face oppression and poverty.