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Saturday, 31 August 2013

Prayer for Syria

Mine Yildirim
It could be easy to forget that this diocese in Europe of the Church of England borders with Syria, but our congregations in Turkey keep us updated on the ways that the civil war across the border is having its effect in that country. Conservative UN estimates put the number of refugees in Turkey who have fled the civil war in Syria at about 450,000 - 500,000. Many of them are in refugee camps in SE Turkey close to the border with Syria. But many refugees and displaced people from the war are also finding their way to the cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. The Revd Engin Yildirim, the priest-in-charge of the Turkish-speaking parish of the Resurrection in Istanbul, reported to me recently that an influx of displaced people is visibly noticeable now in the streets of that city. The Church of the Resurrection cooperates, particularly with Roman Catholic agencies, in providing support to refugees in Istanbul.

Fr Engin's wife, Mine, (who is a PhD candidate from the University of Turku in the field of human rights), is keeping the congregation alert to the possibility of needing to increase its response as the refugee numbers, including those from many minority groups in Syria, continue to grow. 

Here is a prayer that can be used in the congregations of this diocese:  

God of Compassion,
Hear the cries of the people of Syria
Comfort those who suffer violence
Console those who mourn the dead
Give strength to Syria’s neighbouring countries to welcome the refugees
Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms
And protect those who are committed to peace.
God of hope,
Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence and to seek reconciliation with their enemies
Inflame the Universal Church with compassion for the people of Syria
And give us hope for a future built on justice for all
We ask this through Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace and Light of the world.

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