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OSJ Prayers: June 14, 2017

Praying for Fathers Facing Deportation

On Father's Day, faith communities, civic leaders, elected officials, and immigrant mothers and fathers will join together for a vigil to honor immigrant and refugee fathers and their contributions to the United States and to pray for those facing deportation. In addition to anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies that are separating immigrant families, the U.S. fiscal year 2018 budget proposal asks for $4.5 billion (in addition to the existing $19 billion in immigration enforcement each year) to expand deportation.

For families who are suffering grief, fear, and separation today, we pray. We pray for people tasked with enforcing immigration laws, that they may act in ways that are just, that they can cope in healthy ways with the stress and sadness their jobs expose them to. We pray for all who have power to change and amend laws — give them wisdom to balance safety, wealth, fairness, and human kindness as they do so. On Father’s Day we lift in prayer the dads who are without their children because of immigration laws. Give them hope, Lord.

Canada to Fund Restorative Justice Project

Last month the Canadian government announced that it will provide nearly $7.5 million over five years to the Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA), a restorative justice organization that helps persons convicted of a sex offense to reintegrate into their communities. The new grant will strengthen this work in over 12 communities across Canada during the first year. According to a 2014 report, 98 percent of participants involved with CoSA do not sexually reoffend within three years of their release from jail.

God, we are grateful for this hopeful and transformative work, and for the support it’s getting from the Canadian government. We ask for continued support for all who transition between jail and prison and life in the outside world — especially those who have committed sexual offenses and therefore face many additional barriers. We pray also that the church may be trained to see to support and accountability in ways that reflect the love of Christ.

Food Poisoning Hits Refugee Camp Near Mosul

Hundreds of people fell ill and a woman and child have died as a result of suspected food poisoning at a refugee camp near Mosul, Iraq. The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has stated that around 800 cases were reported and 200 persons were taken to local hospitals. The meal was provided by a Qatari charity. Previously, outside charity organizations had been banned from bringing in food, but camp authorities recently changed that requirement due to the scale of the crisis. The camp is populated by refugees displaced from western Mosul by ISIS.

God, for this tragic situation we cry out in sadness. We pray for an end to the violence in Iraq and in so many other parts of the world. We pray for a way to stop the terrorism of ISIS. We pray for families who are desperate and without hope, now grieving this new tragedy. May the world hold its leaders accountable to responding with hospitality to the world’s growing number of refugees.

Anti-Muslim Marches Outnumbered by Acts of Welcome

Act for America, the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in the United States, held “March against Sharia” rallies in more than 20 cities across the nation on June 10. The group’s goal was to rally citizens around their theory that American Muslims (who make up 1 percent of the U.S. population) are attempting to impose Islamic law over all American citizens. In response, many interfaith counterprotests ended up outnumbering the anti-Muslim groups, spreading a message of welcome. Ahead of the rallies, a letter denouncing Act for America’s rallies was signed by 40 faith leaders and faith organizations.

God, we pray for an end to fear tactics and xenophobia, whether in our communities or in our own hearts and churches. Where we fail to understand one another’s common humanity, we ask for your Spirit to reveal our sin. We pray for Muslims in the U.S. who are affected by violence, fear, propaganda, and policies, and we ask that the church might learn to pour itself out in love and sacrifice for its neighbors.

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