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General Assembly leaders offer a renewed call to prayer and action for the people of Syria

Parsons and Valentine lift up the Syrian people

June 20, 2012

LOUISVILLE

Our Christian friends continue to endure great suffering — along with all the Syrian people — under the escalating violence between the Assad regime and armed opposition groups. The international community seems unable to agree on ways to bring the violence to a halt or to find a path of engagement that can lead to a peaceable resolution of the conflict. UN observers in Syria recently came under direct attack, resulting in the suspension of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria on June 16, 2012. This suspension is being reviewed on a daily basis.

As believers in Jesus Christ, who declare that our God is “able to find a way when there is no way,” we must go to God in prayer on behalf of all who are suffering and ask for wisdom as to how we might provide comfort and support.

A prayer for the Syrian people

Lord Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace,
as you appeared to Paul
on the road to Damascus,
shine forth in these dark days
to show us your way of peace.
Put an end to violence
and murderous threats.
Fill every heart
with the Spirit of peace;
in your holy name we pray.
(Acts 9)

Here are some things we all can do

We can pray for all the parties involved — victims of violence, their perpetrators and members of the international community who are seeking ways to support a peaceable outcome to this disaster.

We must pray especially for our Christian partners, knowing that as in other places in the region, they will remain a minority at risk regardless of the outcome.  Christians in Syria — who are an essential component of the fabric of Syrian culture and history — trace their Christian heritage back to the apostolic era and make up about 10% of the population of 22 million. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has partnered with Syrian churches for most of the last two centuries. Please join your hearts in prayer for our sisters and brothers with whom we have been made one in the body of Christ.

We can become more fully informed about what is actually happening in Syria and within the peace-seeking efforts of the international community. Background material provided by our mission partners and others can help us begin to get a perspective on what has happened, and there are numerous paths to keeping our prayers informed and relevant through media coming from the U.S., Europe and the Middle East.

We can respond to this ongoing tragedy — with its loss of life, injury, and the devastation of homes, neighborhoods, cities and towns, which has created a significant number of refugees and internally displaced persons — by generous giving to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering and to the designated giving account DR000081 – Middle East/Syria. Your gifts will be used to provide humanitarian assistance to displaced families and others impacted by this crisis.  Funds will also help our mission partners in the region as they respond.

We can ask our government to support a mediated process of cessation of violence by all perpetrators, including the Assad regime and armed opposition groups, to call for all outside parties to cease all forms of intervention in Syria, and to refrain from any military intervention in Syria, which we understand, in this case, will be certain to result in more loss of lives and lead to adverse outcome to the Syrian people and the region.

Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Linda Valentine, Executive Director of the General Assembly Mission Council

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