Prayers

Prayers for Peacemakers, 13 December 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 13 December 2017

Pray for Shoal Lake 40 First Nation community, who CPT Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Team partners with in their struggle for clean drinking water and an all-weather access road to the mainland. Pray for the local and provincial authorities to make the right decisions at their annual meeting on December 19.

Hold the Province of Manitoba and City of Winnipeg party to the 1989 Tripartite Agreement with Shoal Lake 40 First Nation in your thoughts and prayers. At a time of fiscal austerity in Manitoba, may the Province and City enter this annual meeting on December 19 with compassionate hearts and receptive minds. Since the 1989 signing of the Tripartite Agreement, Shoal Lake 40 has suffered under restricted development on the reserve and a 20-year boil water advisory in return for clean drinking water in Winnipeg and the promise of alternate economic opportunity.

"Honou  our agreements" rally during the 2016's tripartite meeting
Photo: “Honour our Agreements” rally during the Tripartite Agreement meeting at Winnipeg City Council Building in December 2016.
(from CPT-Indigenous Peoples Solidarity archive)

Prayers for Peacemakers, 7 December 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 7 December 2017

Thanksgiving for the CPT Iraqi Kurdistan’s partner – Baste community - who celebrate a new connection to electrical grid after many years of struggle and life under cross-border bombardments. Prayer for the families who had to flee their village Gullala after Turkish warplanes bombarded them for the fifth time in the last month.

CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team celebrates with its long-term partners, community of Baste, and leaders of nearby communities, that Baste has finally gotten connected to the electrical grid. This connection is what the people of Baste, a well-known ancient "Peace village", enduring for three decades under the shadows of Turkish and Iranian bombs and rockets, have struggled for for many years. Please read more about this great achievement here.

Celebratory meal in Baste

Prayers for Peacemakers, 29 November 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 29 November 2017

Please pray for more than 7,000 refugees stranded on the Greek island of Lesbos, they ask for protection from approaching winter and freedom to continue their journey. Pray for an Afghani family of a 10-year-old boy who drowned in the sea and a family that may be torn apart by deportation. Please hold in your prayers the CPT team, team's partner Pikpa, and other people who act in love and solidarity.

The situation on Lesbos is rather bleak currently. Winter is approaching, and there are many who only have a summer tent to sleep in. The government is repressive in the manner that it interacts with the refugees on the island. There have been instances of arrests and physical use of force from the side of the police.

The trials of people accused of being human smugglers, many of whom are refugees who ended up steering a boat to safety, have started up again, and the Lesvos team have gotten back into the swing of attending those. The solidarity camp Pikpa is full, and the other camps on the island are overflowing. There are more than 7,000 people in the government run camp of Moria, which was built and can provide for about 2,500. This is only exacerbated by the laws of the European Union which are not allowing people to leave Lesbos. We would invite people to check out the #opentheislands campaign.

While there are many people and families that could really use prayer right now, I would like to specifically highlight a couple stories of families in Pikpa. One family from Afghanistan is very new on the island, and during their crossing one of their children, a 10-year-old son, drowned. The family is being supported by the other residents of Pikpa and the CPT team, but it is still very hard for the family.

The second story is of a family with two young children. The father of this family has been denied his blue stamp, which would allow him to continue on to the main land, twice now. This means that he is facing government issued deportation. This has caused a lot of psychological stress for the family.

We want our right -- Open the islands

Prayers for Peacemakers, 22 November 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 22 November 2017

Prayer for the peace process to prevail in Colombia and for the full implementation of the agreed upon transitional justice.

This week we pray for the Colombian lawmakers who are responsible for putting the peace accords into action. Jeffrey Feltman, the United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, has expressed extreme concern for the future of peace in Colombia after his visit to the country last week. The transitional justice system was expected to begin in the next few months but has recently undergone amendments in Congress that would exclude politicians and businesses involved in war crimes from the truth commission. This decision will severely debilitate the original agreements and continue to re-victimize the victims of the conflict. The UN has stated clearly that "failure to comply with this essential commitment, after the surrender of weapons [by the FARC], would have very serious repercussions for the process and would not be understood or accepted by the international community."

Men in white peace shirts are watching on screen Colombian president shake hands with FARC leader
People joyously watch Colombian president Santos and leader of FARC Timochenko shake hands.

Prayers for Peacemakers, 15 November 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 15 November 2017

From Christian Peacemaker Teams in Al-Khalil / Hebron, Palestine:

"In the spirit of hope, we pray for peace.

We pray for the torn and divided peoples,
for refugees and uprooted families,
for all living in camps and for those who assist them,
and for all who have been bereaved, injured and traumatized.

Especially at this time, we pray for all who suffer in the midst of renewed conflict and attack.

We pray for Israelis living with the threat of rocket fire, for Palestinians in the West Bank subjected to the violation of their civil liberties and human rights and living under the constraints of military occupation and settler harassment.

We pray for
the people of Gaza, living under blockade and repeated military bombardment, adding fear to the misery of poverty and want.

In particular we pray for children and young people caught up in terror beyond their understanding or control.

Palestinian boy looking at Israeli soldiers at the souk

We pray for...

Prayers for Peacemakers, 8 November 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 8 November 2017

Pray for the important truth-seeking work of the Canadian National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Pray for those who lost their loved ones as they share and relive their grief. Pray that the truth might build a path to healing and transformation.

Recently, during one of the sessions of the Winnipeg portion of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and LGBTQ2S, the Indigenous Peoples Solidarity team listened to the difficult account from three Indigenous families who had their sister, mother, daughter, aunt taken from them in a brutal way.

In the last 30 years, anywhere from 1,300 to 4,000 Indigenous women, girls and members of the LGBTQ2S community have been taken from their loved ones. The variance in the numbers is because many disappearances are not reported or counted by authorities. This inquiry is to hear the stories and to examine and report the systemic causes of violence. The inquiry commissioners spent five days in Winnipeg and will go to rural and urban communities across this vast land.

This week we would like to ask you to pray:
- For the families as they relive the stories of their loved ones and the days of grief.
- For the inquiry commissioners as they hear so many stories of horrific deeds done to women, girls and LGBTQ2S people - that they will remain strong to support and listen.
- For all people of Canada - that we will find a way forward to protect the women and to eradicate causes of such violence.

And we pray for the inquiry that it will: Find the truth; honour the truth; and give life to the truth as a path to healing.

Public gathering to remember murdered indigenous women
Photo: Several times a year family members, other loved ones and members of the public gather to remember the Indigenous women, girls and LGBTQ2S people who have been murdered or who are still missing.

Prayers for Peacemakers, 2 November 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 2 November 2017

Pray that the new path that Iraq and other countries forced Kurdistan to undertake will not lead to spiraling violence, but rather guide its people to new structures of life and sustainable freedom.   

There is very little hope left in Iraqi Kurdistan. In a month since the referendum on independence, Kurdish people in Iraq lost most of what they have struggled for and gained in 25 years. To punish people who voted in an overwhelming majority that one day they would like to live in an independent country, the Iraqi military alongside brutal militia forces supported by Turkey and Iran invaded and took control of around 50% of the territory Kurdish forces controlled. The reports speak of killed civilians, rape of a mother and daughter, arbitrary arrest of youth, destroyed and pillaged Kurdish homes, and mass displacement. The militias presence threatens also Christian and Yezidi peoples who have just recently returned from their exile caused by ISIS to rebuild their towns.

To isolate Kurdistan and further instill its dominance, Iraq banned all international flights to/from Kurdistan and took control over the land border crossings with Turkey, Iran and Syria. Turkish airstrikes in the border regions continue to endanger shepherds and farmers. CPT partners fled their villages because of massive Iranian troops movements in the mountains.

The silence and seeming approval of the USA and other foreign powers shocked, and broke hearts of, our partners and friends. Many people blame Massoud Barzani - since two days ago, a former president of Iraqi Kurdistan - for the downfall due to his role in the referendum process and inability to create a united and inclusive government. On the other hand, Barzani's supporters attacked the Parliament building, wounded journalists and torched offices of rival political parties. Members of Christian Peacemaker Teams fear an ignition of a civil war between different Kurdistan's parties and fractions.    

Boy points at Kurdistan flag, text reads: There is no peace without self-governance

As people of peace around the world, let us pray and engage with even more energy in the work for peace. Not a peace that would uphold the oppressive structures and attitudes, dominance or status quo. But peace that will become a moving force of liberation of hearts and minds, of people's dreams, and of land. Let us pray that hostilities between the Iraqi and the Kurdish armies, as well as among various fractions cease. Let us pray for protection of families and communities at risk of being targeted by armed groups. Let us demand that Iraq, the USA, and other powerful governments support the peoples' aspirations for self-governance and dreams of freedom. Please pray for the CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team and its partners in these difficult times. New hope has emerged that this new order would ignite new lights of transformation for Kurdistan and its internal structures; that new Kurdistan will rise from the ashes of the old.

Learn more about the situation from the perspective of CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team here and here.

Prayers for Peacemakers, 26 October 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 26 October 2017

Pray for refugees who are protesting against horrible living conditions and asking for protection as winter comes to Lesvos. Pray that their demands would be heard and for the CPT team that accompanies them.   

CPT-Lesvos accompanies refugees who have been protesting for six days in the main square of Mytilene against their confinement on Lesvos and the inhumane conditions of the overcrowded Moria camp. The winter is quickly approaching and the camp lacks basic services and adequate protection from the cold weather and winds that will hit the island soon. Last winter, people died of hypothermia. 

Snow covering tents in Moria
Refugees in the cold: The EU hotspot Moria on Lesbos, January 7th, 2017. Photo: Twitter / @GiorgosKosmop.


The police have harassed and threatened the protesting refugees and given them false promises. Children, women and men responded by singing. When a heavy rain came pouring down, people of solidarity in Mytilene mobilized to provide raincoats and shelters.

Please pray that the Greek and European Union authorities would hear and acknowledge voices demanding protection and respectful living conditions for people who fled war and other forms of suffering. Pray for the members of CPT on Lesvos who provide accompaniment and daily presence at the protests and advocate for respect and freedom for those who came hoping to find safety and better lives. Let us pray and work together for open and caring hearts and open borders during crossing of which no one else will ever die again.   

Children from Lesvos 

 #Opentheislands  #Winteriscoming

Prayers for Peacemakers, 18 October 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 18 October 2017

Prayer for Alvaro Garcia, who is reuniting with his family, community and land after 18 months of imprisonment following his leading role in the struggle against displacement. Christian Peacemaker Teams - Colombia has been accompanying Alvaro's village of Bella Union and El Guayabo since 2013.


Today we hold in our hearts Alvaro Garcia, human rights defender and leader of Bella Union community's struggle against displacement, who was reunited with his family on Friday October 13 after 536 days of imprisonment.


We pray that Alvaro is gentle with himself as he transitions home,

that he can connect with his family and community in meaningful ways.

May he experience joy being back on his land.

May You guide him to remain grounded in his spirituality and strength as the criminal legal case continues,

grant him the patience and grace he needs to trust in the work of the lawyers and the social organizations that are supporting the process.

May he continue to keep his spirit alive as the land struggle persists.

May he lead his community with courage, bravery and resiliency.

May Alvaro know that he is accompanied in this struggle,

that he is supported by networks larger than Bella Union and El Guayabo.

Amen.

Alvaro Garcia's joy of release
                            Alvaro Garcia released!

Prayers for Peacemakers, 12 October 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 12 October 2017

Prayer for Christian Peacemaker Teams Palestine team and partners.  

Today, please, carry in your thoughts and prayers the Christian Peacemaker Teams work, presence and partners in Palestine. Please pray for:

1. Guidance around the new Settler Municipality and how the team can best support its partners and Palestinians in their continued resistance against these unjust structures.

2. For the children of the occupation who are growing up and having to face psychological, physical and verbal violence as well as restrictions to their play and their right to be a child.

3. For the team members to be able to sustain their important work.