Churches Urge Prayer For Justice in Zimbabwe

The people of Zimbabwe will be held in the thoughts ofMethodists and United Reformed Church members on an Africa Day ofPrayer.

The two denominations have backed the All Africa Conference ofChurches (AACC's) call for churches around the world to pray forZimbabwe on January 25.

The cholera epidemic continues to spread across the country.According to figures circulated by the AACC, 37,000 people havecontracted the disease and 1,800 people have died. Food is scarce,political violence continues and schools have not been able to runproperly due to the financial and social crisis.

Revd John Marsh, Moderator of the General Assembly of The UnitedReformed Church, said: "With the eyes of the world's media nowfirmly fixed on the unfolding tragedy in Gaza, we need to bereminded of the immense pain and suffering that continues to hauntthe people of Zimbabwe.

"We fully endorse the AACC's resolution on Zimbabwe and call on ourChurches to support their call for a special Africa Day of Prayerand Fasting for Justice in Zimbabwe on Sunday 25 January. Wetherefore encourage local churches to commence their services onthat day with the lighting of a candle and a minute's silence inprayer and solidarity with the people and churches ofZimbabwe."

The Ninth Assembly of the AACC met in Maputo, Mozambique inDecember. The assembly, which was attended by Christine Elliott,Secretary for External Relationships for the British MethodistChurch, backed resolutions calling for an end to violence andpolitical freedom of expression.

Steve Hucklesby, Public Issues Policy Adviser for The MethodistChurch, said: "We want a process that can bring about the longingof all Zimbabweans for a free and fair society. Robert Mugabe lostthe Presidential election. Zanu PF came second in Parliamentaryelections. Mr Mugabe must be prepared to relinquish power ifZimbabweans are to be free.

"The food and cholera crisis are symptoms of the meltdown of theeconomy and provision of essential services. Water is contaminatedwith human waste and health services are not functioning in manyareas. The government's response is to increase security andsuppress dissent. Some humanitarian aid is getting through but muchmore is needed."

A suggested reading and prayer can be found in the notesbelow.


God of power and truth,
May your peace rest with the restless of Zimbabwe
May your love inspire the hearts of all those who long and work forjustice
May your healing touch the wounds of those suffering andbereaved
May your truth be spoken in dangerous places
May we not be idle in working, praying, longing and searching foryour Kingdom in this broken world.

Reading: Isaiah 58:6-9