Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Holocaust Memorial Day-stand up to hatred

Will we ever learn the lessons of history?
Speak up for the oppressed and the victims;
Give a voice to the powerless;
Stop ethnic cleansing;
Do not stand by and watch genocide and ethnic cleansing

Let us pray for God’s ancient people, the Jews, the first to hear his word – for greater understanding between Christian and Jew
for the removal of our blindness and bitterness of heart
that God will grant us grace to be faithful to his covenant and to grow in the love of his name.

Lord, remember not only the men and women of goodwill, but also those of ill will. Do not remember all the sufferings they have inflicted upon us; remember the fruits we bear, thanks to this suffering – our comradeship, our loyalty, our humanity, courage, generosity, the greatness of heart which has grown out of all this. And when they come to judgement, let all the fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.
(A prayer found on a scrap of paper beside the body of a girl who died at Ravensbruck)

God, you created us all in your own likeness.
We thank you for the wonderful diversity of races and cultures in your world.
Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of fellow feeling and understanding;
show us your presence in those most different from us, so that in all our relationships,
both by what we have in common and by things in which we differ,
we may come to know you more fully in your creation;
for you are Father, Son and Holy Spirit for ever. Amen

Judge eternal, bringer of justice,
hear the cry of those who suffer under the lash of heartless political oppression;
those who languish in prisons and labour camps, untried or falsely condemned;
those whose bodies are shattered,
or whose minds are unhinged by torture or deprivation.
Meet them in their anguish and despair,
and kindle in them the light of hope,
that they may find rest in your love,
healing I your compassion
and faith in your mercy.
In the name of him who suffered, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
(Prayers said on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the death of Anne Frank: Reproduced with kind permission of the Anne Frank Educational Trust and the Council of Christians and Jews)



Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inauguration of Barack Obama 20 January 2009 Prayers

Inauguration of Barack Obama 20 January 2009

Bishop Gene Robinson: Invocation

O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will...
Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.
Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of colour, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.
Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.
Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.
Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.
Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.
And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.
Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.
Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.
Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.
Make him colour-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.
Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.
Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.
And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace. Amen

Rev. Rick Warren: Prayer

Let us pray.
Almighty God, our father, everything we see and everything we can't see exists because of you alone. It all comes from you, it all belongs to you. It all exists for your glory. History is your story.
The Scripture tells us Hear, oh Israel, the Lord is our God; the Lord is one. And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.
Now today we rejoice not only in America's peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time. We celebrate a hinge-point of history with the inauguration of our first African-American president of the United States.
We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where the son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership.
And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in Heaven.
Give to our new president, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity. Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the Cabinet, and every one of our freely elected leaders.
Help us, oh God, to remember that we are Americans, united not by race or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all.
When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us. When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the Earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us.
And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes, even when we differ.
Help us to share, to serve and to seek the common good of all.
May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet. And may we never forget that one day all nations and all people will stand accountable before you.
We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.
I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus, Jesus (hay-SOOS), who taught us to pray, Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Rev. Joseph Lowery: Benediction

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou, who has brought us thus far along the way, thou, who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee.
Shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand true to thee, oh God, and true to our native land.
We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we've shared this day.
We pray now, oh Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family and his administration.
He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national, and indeed the global, fiscal climate. But because we know you got the whole world in your hands, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations.
Our faith does not shrink though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.
For we know that, Lord, you are able and you're willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds, and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor, of the least of these, and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.
We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that yes we can work together to achieve a more perfect union.
And while we have sown the seeds of greed - the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.
And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.
And as we leave this mountain top, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.
Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little angelic Sasha and Malia.
We go now to walk together as children, pledging that we won't get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone.
With your hands of power and your heart of love, help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nations shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid, when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.
Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around ... when yellow will be mellow ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.

A new dawn

It was impossible to watch yeterday's inauguration without sensing that history was being made. Seeing those proud older African Americans see a sight they would never have believed possible cannot fail to have brought a tear to the eye. Truly, anything can happen.

We live in interesting times. The burden of global expectation will lie heavy on Barack Obama'a shoulders. I pray he is encouraged and strengthened by the strong team he has appointed around him, his inspirational family and his firm and radical faith.

At a meeting last week, the Church of England’s Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns discussed the impact of the election of the new American President. In the light of that discussion, the Chair of the Committee, the Revd Rose Hudson Wilkin, has today issued the following statement which I feel is an accurate and prophetic reflection which we all can echoe:

“The election last November of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the USA, culminating in his inauguration today, is a most momentous occasion.

“His election was a truly redemptive moment and one of pride and aspiration for many people. It was a particularly redemptive moment in terms of the legacy that African Americans have endured for over two centuries - and this was not lost on the President elect, Barack Hussein Obama.

“It is totally right that there was joy inside the tears of many for the whole of the United States. But the moment also gave the world a new iconography – a first family that is not defined by any one ethnic group. This is a symbol of immense significance to millions of people, not just in America but across the world.

“The Church of England has a significant number of minority ethnic people among its regular worshippers, and of course among those within its pastoral care. As a Church we must decide on how we will respond in the light of this truly transformative moment. Despite the contentious issues around the world-wide Communion, the election of Obama is a prophetic pointer to the possibilities which open up if hearts and minds have the confidence to change by the power of the Holy Spirit.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury has used the term ‘Kairos Time’. This is truly a ‘Kairos Time’ when we urge the Church to begin to nurture a leadership that can engage and function at all levels within it – across all ethnicities – but this must be done intentionally. This affects us as individuals, locally, nationally and internationally through the Anglican Communion. All could reflect on their key aspirations concerning Hope and Transformation in Christ but we call on the Church of England to renew its commitment tangibly to minority ethnic people. This is what Obama's Presidential Campaign was all about, but it is unfinished business in the Church. Can we ever have "business as usual" in our Church again?

“God Bless Barack Hussein Obama, America and our own nation as well.”

Thursday, January 08, 2009

2009: A year of social responsibility

A year of social responsibility

6 January Epiphany
11 January Plough Sunday www.farmcrisisnetwork.org.uk
16 January Martin Luther King Day (US)
18 - 25 January Week of Prayer for Christian Unity www.ctbi.org.uk
18 January Peace Sunday www.paxchristi.org.uk
18 January World Religion Day www.worldreligionday.org
25 January World Leprosy Day www.leprosymission.org.uk
27 January Holocaust Memorial Day www.holocaustmemorialday.gov.uk
1 - 8 February Poverty and Homelessness Action Week
'Voices from the Edge' www.homelessness-Sunday.org.uk; www.church-poverty.org.uk
2 February Candlemas
6 February UNICEF Day for Change www.unicef.org.uk
8 February Education Sunday www.educationsunday.org
23 February - 8 March Fair Trade Fortnight www.fairtrade.org.uk
25 February Ash Wednesday
1 March Tear Fund Sunday www.tearfund.org
6 March Women's World Day of Prayer www.wwdp-natcomm.org
22 March Mothering Sunday
24 March Oscar Romero, Archbishop, Martyr
29 March Passiontide begins
5 April Palm Sunday
7 April World Health Day www.who.int
9 April Deir Yasin Day www.sabeel.org
10 April Good Friday
12 April Easter Day
28 April Workers Memorial Day www.tuc.org.uk
1 May Day of Prayer for Police Service www.cpauk.net
6-11 May Week of Prayer for Parliament www.christiansinparliament.org.uk
9 May Europe Day www.eurunion.org
10 May Josephine Butler, social reformer
10 - 16 May Christian Aid Week www.christianaid.org.uk
16 May Caroline Chisholm, social reformer
17 May Not for Sale Sunday www.chaste.org.uk
21 May Ascension Day
25-31 May National Family Week www.nationalfamilyweek.co.uk
31 May Pentecost
7 June Trinity Sunday
7 June Environment Sunday www.arocha.org.uk
15 - 21 June Refugee Week www.refugeeweek.org.uk
17 June Samuel and Henrietta Barnett, social reformers
21 June Fathers Day
21 June World Peace and Prayer Day www.worldpeaceandprayerday.org
26 June Int Day in Support of Victims of Torture www.fiacat.org/en/spip.php?rubrique21
6 July George Edwards Memorial Day www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk
12 July Sea Sunday www.biss.org.uk
30 July William Wilberforce, social reformer
6 August Hiroshima Day www.creni.org
11 August Claire of Assisi
13 August Octavia Hill, social reformer
13 August Florence Nightingale
20 August William & Catherine Booth, Salvation Army
23 August Slavery Memorial Day
13 September Racial Justice Sunday www.ctbi.org.uk
13 September Int Day of Remembrance for Firefighters www.firefightersmemorial.co.uk
21 September International Day of Prayer for Peace www.overcomingviolence.org
26 September Wilson Carlile, Church Army
1 October Earl of Shaftesbury, social reformer
1 October Older People’s Day www. campaigns.direct.gov.uk/fulloflife/older-peoples-day.html
4 October Disability Sunday www.throughtheroof.org
4 October Animal Welfare Sunday www.aswa.org.uk
12 October Elizabeth Fry, prison reformer
18 October Healthcare Sunday www.healthcaresunday.org.uk
18 October Micah Sunday www.micahchallenge.org.uk
18 - 25 October One World Week www.oneworldweek.org
24 October UN Day www.un.org
31 October Martin Luther King (UK)
1 November All Saints day
6 November Nat day Prayer for armed forces www.afcu.org.uk
6 November William Temple, archbishop
8 November Remembrance Sunday www.britishlegion.org.uk
15 November Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians www.csw.org.uk
15 November RoadPeace day of remembrance www.roadpeace.org
15 - 21 November Prisons Week www.prisonsweek.org
25 November White Ribbon Day domestic violence www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk
29 November Advent Sunday
30 November St Andrew, int mission
1 December World Aids Day www.worldaidsday.org
10 December Human Rights Day www.un.org/events/humanrights
17 December Eglantine Jebb, founder “Save the Children”
18 December International Migrants Day www.december18.net
25 December Christmas Day
28 December Holy Innocents Day

Please note that a multi-faith calendar is available via: www.interfaithcalendar.org

Please contact me with any omissions or errors.
Rev Simon Wilson
Diocese of Norwich
January 2009