Call to prayer as Christmas Day violence feared in India

Following a year of tensions, threats and destruction, particularly in Orissa, Karnataka, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, many Christians will celebrate Christ's birth in hiding or in fear. The Methodist Church is urging Christians to pray as fresh violence is feared on Christmas Day.

Christmas 2007 saw violent attacks on Christians and church services in several parts of India.

Christine Elliott, Secretary for External Relationships in the Methodist Church in Britain, said; 'The images that flash briefly across our TVs and newspapers, often represent a real human cost lived out over months and years by our brothers and sisters.

'Over Christmas and in the weeks leading up to the Indian general election in February Methodists are encouraged to join our partners the Church of North India and Church of South India, in prayer for those suffering from the communal violence. Let us be active rather than passive observers.'

A prayer for Orissa

Loving God, who knows us as a parent and, in Jesus, lived among us as a child,
We pray that the warmth and comfort of your love may be known among all Christian communities in India, especially those which have known violence against their churches over the last year.
We remember before you those who have been killed, attacked or made homeless,
those living with fear for themselves or their families,
those forced to deny their Christian faith.
May the coming new year bring compassion and understanding,
may politicians act for peace and justice,
may religions live together in hope.
We pray this in the name of Jesus.
Amen.

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