UCC provides prayer and monetary aid to tsunami survivors

“Fifty thousand dollars has been wire-transferred to Church World Service to cover the cost of shipping a 40-foot container of medicine and supplies to Asia,” says Susan Sanders, disaster relief executive for the United Church of Christ. “The value of the shipment is $500,000.” The funds were provided from the UCC’s One Great Hour of Sharing offering. Church World Service is the disaster relief arm of the National Council of Churches.
An additional $20,000 was wire-transferred to Church World Service and Action by Churches together. Other groups receiving aid include the Church of North India, Church of South India, Jaffna Diocese CSI in Sri Lanka, Christian Council of Thailand and Churches Auxiliary for Social Action in India. The funds were provided by Global Ministries, the partnership ministry of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
In addition to the immediate monetary support, the Rev. John H. Thomas, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ, has joined with ecumenical and interfaith partners in calling for prayers for the people in Asia. A pastoral prayer is available at ucc.org for use in worship and other prayer settings.
The text of Thomas’ prayer invokes images of Rachel weeping for her children and of hope through Jesus’ epiphany. Here is the text of Thomas’ prayer:
“In the celebration of Your incarnation, the icons of the season mingle with horrific images like so much flotsam in the wake of Tsunami’s indiscriminate destruction:
“Rachel’s weeping over lifeless bodies of lost children unable to cling to boats and branches; the desperate flight of families rich and poor — each one holy — racing the deadly embrace of waves reaching for this generation’s innocent;
“The weak and the vulnerable survivors waiting for food, water, shelter, but even more for some consolation like the ancient survivors, Simeon and Anna of old.
“Our hearts break, O God, even as our minds resist comprehending the enormity of sorrow spread across southern Asia’s vast beauty and poverty.
“Amid so much that is superficial, may this grim spectacle of loss prompt us to cling ever more closely to all that is precious in our lives, and may it stir in our oft-deadened hearts a great generosity of tears and treasure borne by modern magi moved again by cosmic disruptions, gifts worthy of Your epiphany that can even now render this year’s terrifying season holy. Amen.”
The United Church of Christ was formed by the 1957 union of the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church. Through its One Great Hour of Sharing offering, the UCC — working with ecumenical partners — reaches out in the name of Christ to build sustainable communities, respond to disaster and minister to refugees.
Categories: United Church of Christ News

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