It’s never too late to pray

PC(USA) missionaries in Poland seek prayers on International Roma Day

March 29, 2011

LODZ, Poland

Greetings from Europe, where we serve in Poland, jointly appointed by Global Ministries (United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ) and by the PC(USA).

We write to encourage you to lift up the Roma people in prayer, in the 10 days leading up to April 8, International Roma Day, and in the future. It’s never too late to pray!

The Ten Days of Prayer and Thanksgiving for Roma in Europe is an ecumenical effort spearheaded by Presbyterian Women, but taken up by many others and, we hope, by UCC and DOC congregations who have so faithfully offered prayer support in the past.

You can find the Prayer Booklet online.

We hope to encourage participation in this ecumenical circle of prayer and thanksgiving for Roma. It comes at a very critical time, as Roma continue to face violence. exclusion, and forced expulsions from settlements in many European countries.

Burkhard Paetzold is a Roma advocate working in Europe with PC(USA). In his Christmas letter, he lifted up the plight of Roma and the urgent need for prayer: “Where is hope in such circumstances? Where is hope in a world where greed seems to become more important than peace between social classes, justice among the nations and the integrity of God’s creation? Does it really look as if we should minimize our efforts or give in? Jesus’ birth in a manger speaks to us and says: “O ye of little faith! Be realistic — request the impossible!”

After World War II German Christians of the Confessing Church stated in the Stuttgart Confession: “Infinite grief about many people and lands has been brought by us ... We accuse ourselves that we have not confessed more courageously, not prayed more faithfully, not believed more joyfully, and not loved more passionately.”

Today we must ask ourselves: Do we confess courageously enough? Do we pray faithfully enough? Do we believe joyfully enough? Do we love our neighbors near and far with sufficient passion?

As we pray faithfully, we realize that “many little people in many places can change the face of the earth”! This reminds us that ecumenical cooperation is important. Many of our old and new mission workers in Eastern Europe, together with mission workers of other churches, have become more and more involved in ecumenical Roma partnership programs.

We are among those who are only beginning to glimpse the harsh and formerly hidden realities of Roma exclusion in Europe. We write with the conviction that prayer opens eyes, hearts and minds. We write with the hope that you will join us in prayer. Pray with us and with the many mission workers of all denominations in Europe as we lift up the Roma people, won’t you?

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