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Justice Prayers - April 7th, 2021

You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence. - Acts 2:18

Florida Water Emergency

Work crews were pumping millions of gallons of contaminated wastewater into an ecologically sensitive Florida bay over the weekend, as they tried to prevent the “imminent” collapse of a storage reservoir at an old phosphate mine. Officials in Manatee county extended an evacuation zone overnight and warned that up to 340m gallons could engulf the area in “a 20ft wall of water” if they could not repair the breach at the Piney Point reservoir. Dozens of pumps and ten vacuum trucks had been deployed to pump up to 100 million gallons of the toxic water per day into the Tampa Bay estuary. Homes were evacuated, inmates at a local jail were moved to higher floors, portions of the highway were closed. The pond sits in stacks of phosphogypsum, a solid radioactive byproduct from making fertilizer. State authorities say the water in the breached pond is not radioactive.

God, for the citizens of Florida who are powerless to impact this destruction, for the wildlife which will be lost, for the leaders scrambling to respond, for the policies and practices which have made this situation possible, we offer our prayers. Bring immediate repair, God, and bring long-term change.

Canada Herring

First Nations and conservationists are warning that Pacific herring populations are “collapsing” off Canada’s western coast, and are appealing for a moratorium on commercial fishing until the critical species can rebuild.  The small, oily fish are a key food source for various species along the coast including Chinook salmon, which are in turn the main food source for endangered southern resident killer whales. Up to 88% of the commercial catch is reduced to meal and oil to feed farmed Atlantic salmon. The Tsawout hereditary chief, Eric Pelkey, said his community enjoyed a healthy herring fishery for generations, and it was a staple food in his community as well as a valued trading item. He added that his nation hasn’t been able to fish for herring for about two decades because the stocks have been decimated.

God, we pray for the herring, which you created and which you find very good. We pray for the species that rely on the herring for life. We pray for the humans who rely on the herring for livelihoods. We pray for the leaders to respond in ways that respect and honor the dignity of the created world and its people.

Kenya threatens to close refugee camps

Kenya has once again threatened to close two huge refugee camps in the country, in a move that has alarmed the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and donor organisations. A tweet from the Kenyan ministry of interior gave the UNHCR a “14-day ultimatum to have a roadmap on definite closure of Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps.” At the end of February, Kenya was hosting 512,494 refugees and asylum seekers, half of whom are from Somalia. Kenya has hosted refugees for several decades. The order will be challenging to implement, especially in light of the recently imposed partial Covid-19 lockdown in Kenya.

God, we remember those who have been forced to flee their homes, who have no ability to make a plan, to provide for themselves, to know their future. We pray for the communities that welcome refugees, and all the impacts that come with their extending hospitality. We pray for leaders in Kenya, in Somalia, at the United Nations, who must work together on behalf of these beloved human lives. We pray for peace, for justice, and for a hope-filled future.

School Closings Due to COVID

A new Covid-19 Global Education Recovery Tracker from Unicef, the World Bank, and Johns Hopkins University is monitoring school closures across the world, analyzing where children are learning at home or at school. Across the world 800 million children are still not fully back in school, with many at risk of never returning to the classroom the longer closures go on. After Covid-19, millions of girls may not return to the classroom.  Closures are contributing to a range of increasing abuses and degradation of children’s rights across the world, from increasing use of child labour to a rise in child marriages, often in communities were children already struggled to access education.

God, we pray for vulnerable children, made even more susceptible to injustice because of the ongoing pandemic. We pray for solutions, Lord — for vaccines, for doctors, for tools to stop the spread. We pray for access to transportation, to food, to technology. We pray for educators and for leaders, Lord, to think creatively to address this ongoing, life-altering reality for the world’s most vulnerable children.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Hearts Exchanged 

Do you want to grow in your reconciliation journey in a robust and appreciative way?  Hearts Exchanged is now recruiting participants from across Canada to be join other Reformed Christians in this learning and action journey.  Find out more and express your interest here.  

There's Something in the Water 

Don't miss the final film discussion group from the Climate Witness Project.  As people of faith we know we are called to care for the earth and other people. Our world is in crisis yet Christians are a people of hope. Join us to consider this film, and take positive action.  Register here.


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