By Robert Dilday
The general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA is calling on each of the denomination’s 5,200 congregations to offer prayers each Sunday in August for nations impacted by the “continued escalation of conflict” around the globe this summer.
“From the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 to the mutual acts of violence between Israel and Hamas, more and more innocents are being killed as the perpetrators refuse the ways of peace,” A. Roy Medley said July 18, expressing what he called the “deep anguish” of American Baptists.
“The recent hostilities between Israel and Hamas only add to the enmity between the two and add yet another obstacle to the prayers and efforts of many to negotiate peace between Israel and Palestinians,” said Medley. “This most recent armed conflict arose from the tragic and horrible deaths of four innocent men and is now claiming even more innocents. While each side may seek short-term tactical gains, they do so at great cost to themselves and the world as anger, resentment and revenge prevail over the hard work of a politically negotiated peace.
“Likewise, the conflict in Ukraine is bringing untold suffering to that country and now to the families of the innocents on Flight 17.”
Medley also cited continued violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which he called “one of the bloodiest conflicts in the world.”
The American Baptist leader urged congregations to pray especially for churches in the unsettled regions which “labor for peace.”
“May the Spirit of Christ, the Prince of Peace, strengthen and encourage them in this holy work,” he said.
— With reporting by American Baptist News Service.