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OSJ Prayers: May 4, 2017

Protections for Haitians in U.S. to Expire

The Trump administration will soon decide whether to extend the Temporary Protected Status program to roughly 55,000 Haitians, putting them at risk of deportation. Haiti hasn’t yet recovered from a series of natural disasters, including the devastating earthquake of 2010. Acting director of the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services has recommended against extending the program, indicating that conditions have improved enough for Haitians to return. Hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti are still homeless after the displacement of more than 1.5 million persons in the wake of the earthquake.

For the thousands of people who live in poverty and trauma today in Haiti, Lord, we lift our prayers for hope and dignity. We desperately pray for improved conditions there: more transparency, more resources, more health and safety, more justice. And we pray for those who have built a life in the United States after fleeing disaster in Haiti. May U.S. leaders be granted compassionate hearts and a clear vision for their responsibility to enact just policies.

Black Child Killed in Police Incident

Fifteen-year-old Jordan Edwards was shot in the head by a police officer in a suburb of Dallas, Tex., last weekend. The police department, responding to reports of drunken young people at a house party, reported that the car Edwards was in was reversing down the street in an “aggressive manner” and ignoring calls to stop moving; however the police chief has since amended this claim, citing video evidence that the car was moving forward at the time shots were fired.

Hear our cries, O God, as we grieve yet another black life ended because of an encounter with police. We pray for transparency and accountability regarding this incident and so many others, and for real changes to the system of policing in communities so that it might be clear that all people are equally protected under the law and equally safe in the presence of the police. We lift in prayer the grieving family and community of Jordan Edwards. We pray for the officers involved in this incident. We pray for the coaches and teachers and counselors of traumatized young people. We pray for the officials who pastor and mediate and litigate and investigate in the wake of this tragedy. We pray for justice, Lord. Teach us the way.

Water Crisis in Bangladesh

In coastal Bangladesh a combination of tidal flooding, inundation by storm surges, and saltwater intrusion has led to a rise in salinity in the groundwater and in freshwater ponds. Safe drinking water is a scarce resource as a result. About 70 percent of people in the region rely on pond water for drinking and domestic use. In the past 35 years, salinity intrusion in Bangladesh has increased by about 26 percent, with the affected area expanding each year as a result of climate change.

We pray for this and so many other devastating outcomes that are already apparent because of climate change. For the people in Bangladesh struggling to adapt to having too much salt in their drinking water, we pray for hope — for innovative ideas, for miraculous changes, and for a worldwide commitment to mitigating such problems and protecting those who are most vulnerable around the world. God, move with your wisdom among the nations of the world to address this crisis.

Peace in Israel and the Palestinian Territories

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas is meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., this week. This comes as the nation of Israel celebrated 69 years of statehood on Monday, and as Palestinians prepare to remember the Nakba (or "catastrophe") of 1948 on May 15. Currently more than 1.5 million Palestinians live in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the Palestinian Territories.

God of peace, we grieve the divisions and animosity between Israelis and Palestinians. We lift up to you the many Palestinians still living in refugee camps, as well as our sisters and brothers at Baraka Presbyterian Church and other Christian communities in the region. Protect them, and help us to amplify their voices as they seek justice and peace in their homeland.

Race Relations Regional Newsletters

Have you met Viviana, Bernadette, or Rudy? Stay in touch with our close partners at the Office of Race Relations by signing up for a bimonthly newsletter from a Race Relations advocate in your area. You'll get tips on engaging your congregation in the call to reconciliation, insights on race relations, and resource recommendations. Get connected here.

Holy Land Learning Tour

From Aug. 8 through 18, come and meet Christians whose lineage of ancestors living in the Holy Land dates back to the time of Christ. On this 11-day trip, you will not only explore sites you've read about in the Bible but also meet people who are ministering, living, and struggling in this part of the world today.

This trip will be led by CRCNA World Missions in partnership with the Office of Social Justice and Faith Formation Ministries.

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