The Church of Ireland Council for Mission has launched a prayer appeal to support persecuted Christians around the world. The appeal follows a resolution by the General Synod in May which expressed solidarity with brothers and sisters in Christ who are persecuted for their faith and committed to supporting them in prayer.
The Honorary Secretary of the Council for Mission, the Revd Patrick Burke, said: ‘The time has come for Christians in the safety and comfort of the West to speak out about what their brothers and sisters are facing in other parts of the world – and to speak out strongly and keep speaking out until the violence ends. The suffering of Christians around the world is truly shocking. The Open Doors watch list for 2016 says that over 100 million Christians are being persecuted globally. Open Doors estimates the “very minimum” killed in 2015 at 7,100 and that over 2,000 churches were attacked, burned, bombed, or confiscated. Given that these crimes take place in countries either ravaged by war or under the control of an oppressive regime, the true figure could be much higher.’
Explaining the Council’s approach, he explained: ‘We want to begin with prayer. We are God’s people and it is only right that all we do has its beginning by calling upon Almighty God. We are asking all clergy to include this issue in their intercession at public worship every Sunday, and all Christian people to include it in their private devotions every day. We plan to launch other initiatives to bring this issue more into the public eye in the coming months.’ The Council is also encouraging Christians to become more informed about the persecuted Church. Helpful resources can be found through the work of the Church of Ireland’s associated missionary societies and on the Open Doors website: www.opendoorsuk.org