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Justice Prayers - December 15, 2021

"The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come."  - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Tornadoes Rip Through South, Midwest; Disaster Declared in Kentucky

A major federal disaster has been declared in Kentucky after a swarm of deadly tornadoes hit the state, and others in the region, on Friday. This follows a formal request from Kentucky governor Andy Beshear who said the tornadoes were the most destructive in the state’s history. Beshear had said on Sunday morning that the death toll was expected to exceed 100 after twisters tore through the US midwest and south on Friday night but later that figure had been revised down, although amid power cuts and phone services down across many communities, there was not yet certainty over numbers. While Kentucky was hardest hit, six workers were killed at an Amazon warehouse in Illinois after the plant buckled under the force of the tornado, including one cargo driver who died in the bathroom, where many workers said they had been directed to shelter. A nursing home was struck in Arkansas, causing one of that state’s two deaths. Four were reported dead in Tennessee and two in Missouri. By Monday morning, weather experts had estimated that more than 40 tornadoes hit parts of nine states.

God of comfort and renewal, we pray alongside all those in Kentucky, Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri, and elsewhere who need neighbors in this moment. For all those in need of a warm meal, a construction crew, a hug, and hope for a brighter tomorrow, we pray. We mourn for those we’ve lost. Amen.

Biden administration was not legally bound to auction gulf drilling rights

The Biden administration admitted that a court decision did not compel it to lease vast tracts of the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling, shortly before claiming it was legally obliged to do so when announcing the sell-off. Last month, the US government held the largest-ever auction of oil and gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico’s history, offering up more than 80m acres of the gulf’s seabed for fossil fuel extraction. The sale, which took place just four days after crucial UN climate talks in Scotland, represented an about-turn from Joe Biden’s previous promise to halt offshore drilling. The auction, held on 17 November , ended up netting the government $191.6m from companies such as Exxon, Chevron and BP, the company responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010. A total of 308 tracts of the gulf’s seabed were sold off, covering 1.7m acres, an area larger than the state of Delaware. While it’s believed by some that halting the sale of the tracts would achieve modest gains in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and that the Biden administration is saving political capital for larger, more impactful climate policy, the decision has caused many environmentalists to feel as though Biden is reversing the administration’s pledges to combat climate change. 

Why, O Lord? Why must we be led astray, or constantly disappointed by decisions by powerful people? Bring us true leadership, O Lord, and impart in those tasked with overseeing the maintenance and protection of our planet an altogether new wisdom to make decisions outside of the paradigm of dollars and cents. Amen.

Dozens of Central American migrants killed in crash

At least 54 people, most of them migrants and refugees from Central America, have died after the truck they were travelling in crashed in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, officials said, in one of the worst road accidents in the country in recent years. The crash occurred on Thursday when the large vehicle overturned on a dangerous curve outside the city of Tuxtla Gutierrez, said Luis Manuel Garcia, head of the Chiapas civil protection agency. More than 100 people were inside, according to local officials, although the number may have been as high as 200, with reports that some of the bloodied passengers fled the scene for fear of being detained by immigration authorities.

You, Jesus, were once a migrant. Just as Mary and Joseph fled across borders to protect you, so many in our world together flee and do so along unsafe routes, traveling in unsafe conditions. We pray for those who have been so tragically taken from us so soon. Help us, Lord. Amen. 

Church Retreat Center a Refuge for Those Fleeing Floods, Fire

Camp Hope, a church retreat center at the foot of forested mountains in this western Canadian province, is serving as a refuge for residents of British Columbia who’ve been displaced from their homes by both fire and flood. This summer, a heat dome shattered Canada's temperature records and is blamed for hundreds of deaths. Last month, an "atmospheric river," a current of wet, warm air from the tropics, dropped a normal month's-worth of rain across the southern part of the province in just two days. The record rainfall caused flooding and landslides across a wide area. Volunteers at Camp Hope now prepare three meals a day,  offer a room full of donated toiletries and clothes, and care for all those continuing to pass through the camp. 

For Camp Hope, we give you thanks, O Lord, for the ways they’ve kept their doors open and been a refuge for the weary. For each of your beloved children, we pray for a recovery of whats been lost and protection from future harm. Remind us, Lord, in times of trouble to run to the helpers and seek care in their arms. Amen.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Calling Young Voices!

World Renew Canada in partnership with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank invites you to participate in the Hunger on the Hill event. This event is open to 20 young adult supporters (approx. ages 18-35) to participate in an online Hunger on the Hill event this January. Due to COVID-19 we are unable to invite our participants to travel to Ottawa with us to learn about global hunger and to meet with MPs in person so we are hosting a virtual event. If you would like to more about this amazing opportunity please reach out to Iona at:

Support Continued Safety for Afghan Evacuees

Afghan evacuees deserve continued safety in the United States, beyond the year or two humanitarian parole allows them. An Afghan Adjustment Act would ensure a path to legal permanent residence for Afghan evacuees, acknowledging their unique circumstances and the safety they deserve. Urge your Members of Congress to pass an Afghan Adjustment Act today!

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