Global Links June 2020

Latest news and stories from Global Mission

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JUNE 2020
Featured Story:
June 19 Prayer Service

St. Andrew’s United Church of Cairo recently held a service in honor of Juneteenth (June 19), commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, and World Refugee Day (June 20), an international day to honor refugees. “[This] service is brought in great part through the efforts of our partner congregation pastors who are refugees themselves and leaders at St. Andrew’s,” the bulletin insert reads. The prayer of remembrance includes a reading of names of people who have lost their lives to “oppression, racism, violence and marginalization.” Watch the service here.

Meanwhile, the struggle against systemic racism and white supremacy in the United States continues, and our church plays a vital role. The Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director for Global Mission, said: “Members and congregations of this church have been extremely generous in supporting the ministries of our companion churches. Good and important work happens because they ‘Pray, Participate and Provide’ for these ministries. Through the companion synod program and the work of Mission Formation we are trying to change the landscape of the ELCA’s engagement in vulnerable and marginalized communities in the United States. While the global engagement has brought change to the lives of individuals and congregations, it has not created yet the systemic change we are hoping for. This systemic change will place the church at the center of the struggles for justice in our country, building on the lessons learned from our global engagement and utilizing our companions’ expertise to address similar situations here at home. With our companions we worked tirelessly to dismantle apartheid in South Africa and to end the impunity of dictatorships and plutocracies in Latin America. It is time for us to do that here as well.”
News Around the World
News Around the World
The Lutheran World Federation has expressed grave concern over racism and systemic violence in the United States. Bishop Patricia Davenport of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod has emphasized that words are not enough. “When are we going to live our creed, to show up on the ground and work to rebuild the trust that has been broken?” she asked. Read more in this LWF article.
Mission Personnel Reflection
Mission Personnel Reflection

By Daudi Msseemmaa, regional representative for East Africa

Rural people are accustomed to cycles of plenty and poverty. Livestock keepers, like the Maasai who live in my region, are even more so. During a severe drought in 2008-2009, I spent time in villages where the carcasses of livestock littered the ground and hungry children fainted in class. There was lots of suffering. But I did not encounter hopelessness — even among malnourished mothers who couldn’t provide enough breast milk for their infants. They had a saying, that God is far but he is very near.

I recently recounted that memory with one of my elders — a theologian named Gabriel Kimirei. He said that, in the Maasai traditional religion, there’s a belief that, in the good times, God is near with all his communal blessings. In the times of drought and communal suffering, God is far. But even when God is far, it won’t be long before he comes back. It’s a hopeful posture against pain — understanding that it is a season that will pass.

In times such as these, when COVID-19 has taken so many lives and battered so many economies, it would be easy to say that God is far. But our Christian tradition tells us God is a very present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46). God never leaves us. Still, adopting the cyclical way of seeing life can help us avoid despair during seasons such as this. It requires breaking free from a linear way of looking at life, as a journey from point A to point B, or looking at time, as the steady march of progress. Both are a circle.
Get Involved
Our world has been shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone everywhere is impacted. There are lockdowns and shelter-at-home policies in many countries. People are showing signs of anxiety and distress. To whom do we turn? The Global Companion Prayer Service intervenes. Together with our companions, we call for God’s hope, comfort and solace through these long and difficult days. You can pray with us. Watch one of the two service recordings, listen to the intercessory prayers and download the PDF on our website.
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