Africa

Prayers for Peacemakers, 15 June 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 15 June 2017

On 12 June, the world commemorates the World Day Against Child Labour.* The focus of this international observance is to raise awareness and strengthen efforts to prevent child labour. According to the data of the International Labour Organization, more than 168 million of children around the world are forced into work that "deprives them of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development."**

 Child Labour

Prayers for Peacemakers. 7 June 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers. 7 June 2017

More and more people are becoming aware of the consequences of the industrialization of our world. The pollution of the air, soil and water resources has increased notably because of the so called development. Extremely dry seasons, prolonged cold winters, numerous floods and landslides are just some examples of the impact of the massive industrial production, global scale transportation and abuse of natural resources. For this reason, the country representatives signed an agreement to continue working for and supporting the development while decreasing the pollution and the global warming. But we need to understand that it's the consumption and production of things that we perceive we need that takes away or destroys what we all truly need: healthy and sufficient food and water, clean air and respect for life.   

Let us pray for our world, for clean air and water. Let us pray for those who struggle to protect what is left and to regenerate what is lost. Let us pray for those who make decisions that will impact not only our present but also our future and the future of the life on Earth. Let us pray for each one of us to learn more, to care more, and to do more. We all deserve a better planet and many of us bear responsibility for the disasters that take place not only where we live but also in other parts of the world. So help us God.

 Mocoa, Colombia Landslide

Psalm 96:10-13

Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns." The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth. 

Prayers for Peacemakers. 10 May 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers. 10 May 2017

On the first day of May most countries commemorate the International Worker's Day or the Labor Day. Millions of people take to the streets and march for their rights. They demand better and just conditions to carry out their jobs. 

When we sit at the table, when we get dressed, when we go to bed, when we go to our places of study, work or worship, when we buy food, when we feel sick and need a doctor, even when we make banners for a protest... Many people have worked hard to make these activities possible. And how many of them have been exploited, abused or forced by people or circumstances to do it?

Let us pray for each and every worker on this planet. Let us pray for respectful and just conditions for all to carry out their work activities. Let us pray, and work for change, for a fair wage and for the end of all forms of slavery. Let us pray for all mothers to be able to receive adequate maternity leave. Let us pray for all children so that they can enjoy their childhood instead of exploitative work. Let us pray for both women and men so they can receive equal salary for same work and thus overcome the economic gap.

Psalm 128:2 You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.

Misael Payares, a leader of the farming community of Las Pavas' nonviolent resistance

Misael Payares, a leader of the farming community of Las Pavas' nonviolent resistance. Photo credit: CPT Colombia.

Prayers for Peacemakers 15 March 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers 15 March 2017

Last week the world commemorated the International Women's Day. Also we would like to acknowledge the power and leading role of women in struggle for justice and peace all around the world.

Let us pray for all women members of the CPT projects, for all the women in the Administrative team and all our women partners around the world. Each and every one of them does amazing things in order to build a better world. Let us pray for all girls around the world. Let us pray for a better future for them.

Girls plain in the river. Colombia

Let us pray for men as well, because they need to overcome sexism and work as allies of women in their struggles. Let us pray and work together for a better world where all women, men and every individual have the same opportunities, same access to justice, education and social securities, and freedom to live in peace and for peace. 

Prayers for Peacemakers 1 March 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers 1 March 2017

Created, Guided, and Delivered for Liberation: A Prayer for Times Like These. 

by Chris Knestrick 

Creator God, 

 You created us for right and just relationships.

 You have called your people back to your embrace

                  To that garden of equality and mutuality

                   To healthy relationships based on respect and love

                   To be laborers that harvest life. 

Creator God, You created us.  

Children painting 

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Quilting Peace--A report from the Vatican Nonviolence and Just Peace Conference

 


From April 11-13, 2016, I had the privilege of representing JustFaith Ministries at a Catholic conference on nonviolence in Rome, Italy. The conference was titled, “Nonviolence and Just Peace: Contributing to a Catholic understanding of and commitment to nonviolence.” This historic conference, co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi International, brought together about eighty people from around the world—lay people, members of religious congregations, priests, and bishops—whose experiences of nonviolence ranged from scholarly and theological study to on-the-ground nonviolent resistance, to advocacy on a local, national, and international scale.

All sessions were rich with stories of hope in situations of despair, of mending in in places of fracture, of love in places where hate would be easier.

Bishop Paride Taban of South Sudan talked about Holy Trinity Peace Village, the manifestation of his dream, in which members of different tribes who used to call each other enemies now live, work, and solve problems as a community. The bishop’s peacemaking efforts extend far beyond the village, as he has, among other things, participated in negotiations between the South Sudanese government and rebels.

Stories from the Philippines included both the nonviolent movement that led to Ferdinand Marcos stepping down from the presidency in 1986 and the countrywide peace education that has been going on there since shortly after that.

Fr. Francisco de Roux, SJ, shared his experiences from the Magdalena Medio region of Colombia, where he and his teams talked to everyone—the military, the paramilitary, and the guerrillas— in an effort to create peace. In his personal statement he wrote, “in the Magdalena Medio, when we were surrounded by violent groups, we discovered that there is no safety in weapons. That the only true and sustainable protection comes through trusting people. And that to win trust we have to go through a long process of dialogue and mutual acceptance, and unpredicted individual and social changes, in the midst of uncertainties.” Now he is involved in the negotiations for a peace agreement that may finally bring the decades-long violence in Colombia to an end.

Each story added a new patch to the blanket of peace. 

Many more, we need so many more before we can cover the whole world in peace. 

NIGERIA: Tales of two women captured by Boko Haram

 

Church of the Brethren member Aishatu Joshua showed me a scar on her upper left arm where a Boko Haram fighter shot her during a November 2014 raid of her town, Ngoshe, near the Cameroon border. The bullet entered her arm in an angle, and went out again.

Boko Haram fighters had captured her along with another woman. She heard one say, “Should we kill them?” The other said, “Take them out of the village and do it.” While they were walking them out, they shot and killed the other woman.  Aishatu started to run away, but was shot in the arm. She fell down and lay still, so they thought she was dead and left her.

NIGERIA: Women widowed by Boko Haram find healing in mutual support

in:


Among the most vulnerable of Boko Haram’s victims, are the Nigerian women who have lost not only lost their homes and possessions, but also their husbands, and have to find a way to care for themselves and their children alone.  In my three months among them, I have met a number of such women, but three I have come to know more personally. 

Naomi
One-year-old Hope crawls around on the floor of the reception area at the headquarters of EYN (Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria or the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) in Jos.  She has a quick smile and inquisitive face.  Every time she heads toward the door to the outside steps, Naomi, her mother, gets up and catches her just in time.

Naomi was working as a secretary at the former headquarters near Mubi, when Boko Haram attacked there on 29 October 2014.  She and her daughters, Blessing (18) and Hope (1) fled with throngs of others. Her husband, Bello Philip Mwada, and their three sons, Moses, Emmanuel, and Haruna, who left a little later, were shot and killed by Boko Haram fighters. She believes that her husband, a member of the Nigerian Police Force, was targeted because several times he found out that militant fighters were coming to a particular community, and he warned the residents to flee.

NIGERIA: Nigerian Church of the Brethren builds interfaith community for people displaced by Boko Haram

in:

Children sat, watching, under a shady tree. Women in colorful Nigerian dress, carrying babies on their back, wandered by to greet us. The sound of hammers filled the air at the site of the building site, on the north edge of Abuja, shortly after I arrived in Nigeria, in late March.  Men were nailing sheets of metal roofing on the three-room houses that would make up the Gurku Interfaith Camp for families who fled the violence of Boko Haram and lost everything. Near the houses were latrines and small block structures for kitchens that two families will share.  Families moving into the camp have done much of the building, from making mud bricks, cured in the sun, to building the walls and roofs.

Markus Gamache, a member of the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN), or the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, spoke about the vision he and other members of the Lifeline Compassionate Global Initiatives (LCGI) have—to bridge the growing divide between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria. In a country where the militant group, Boko Haram, has generated a new wave of horrific Muslim-Christian violence, what better way to resist the growing religious tensions, than to start a new community where displaced Muslims and Christians, representing many tribes, villages and languages, can live mixed together as a model for inter-religious reconciliation? 

NIGERIA: Church of the Brethren family cares for fifty-two people displaced by Boko Haram

in:


The room looked like any other clean and neat living room this morning, yet at night, Janata said, it was full of women and young children, sleeping on mats. Older children sleep outside in the back fenced-in yard, and most of the men sleep outside under the trees and near other buildings in the EYN (Nigerian Brethren Church) Headquarters compound in Jos. Janata Gamache and her husband, Markus, currently care for, in their home, fifty-two men, women, and children displaced by the violence of Boko Haram.

Displaced families and individuals started coming to Jos and other safer areas of Nigeria in large numbers in August and September 2014, when Boko Haram attacked communities in Borno State in the northeast. This number increased after Boko Haram started terrorizing areas of northern Adamawa State, including the EYN Headquarters near Mubi, in the fall of 2014 and early 2015. When possible, displaced people went to live with relatives. Thousands ended up in displacement camps, where the once self-reliant people found themselves feeling dependent and powerless. Other displaced people camped outside on the grounds of church buildings. But many EYN families, like the Gamaches, opened their doors to them. In time, host families and congregations helped some of them rent temporary dwellings in the area. EYN has also purchased land near the cities of Jos and Abuja, where they are building temporary houses for additional accommodation.