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Justice Prayers - February 9, 2022

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. - Matthew 5: 14-15

Vaccine Protests Continue in Ottawa

Protesters against Covid vaccine mandates have defied government calls for them to end a nearly two week occupation of Canada’s capital, a day after the city’s mayor declared a state of emergency and promised to “get the city back”. Ottawa police have described the protest as a “siege” on the city, where hundreds of trucks and cars have blockaded the downtown areas. On Sunday, Mayor Jim Watson warned that officials were “losing this battle”, and a civil class-action lawsuit was filed against protesters over the incessant horn blasting and disruption to daily life. Dozens of big-rig trucks, RVs and pickups remain parked in front of Parliament Hill and nearby streets, and protesters show no signs of leaving. 

God of peace, we pray for all those who are experiencing profound disruption in these past few weeks, for sleepless nights, incessant noise and danger, and instability. We pray for an end to these protests, and for a path forward that puts public health guidance and the wellbeing of all Canadians at the forefront.

Jordanian Wheat Growing Taking Over Urban Lots, Building Self-Sufficiency

Al-Barakeh Wheat – which can be translated as “blessing” – took off in late 2019 in Amman, Jordan as part of a grassroots initiative promoting food sovereignty by converting unused land into wheat fields. Under one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, founders Lama Khatieb and Rabee Zureikat’s social enterprise Zikra for Popular Learning started growing wheat. “People were standing in long queues waiting for bread to be distributed,” says Zureikat. “We harvested our wheat and started baking our own bread at home. We felt it was powerful being able to rely on ourselves, it was an amazing feeling.” After successfully growing a tonne-and-a-half of wheat, Zureikat and Khatieb started locating empty plots of land in Amman and mobilising others to join their efforts to restore Jordan’s wheat fields and encourage Jordanians to grow their own food. Since their first harvest in 2020, hundreds have joined the collective farming initiative, which teaches participants to cultivate wheat for an entire season and become self-sufficient in their wheat needs for a year.

We give you thanks, Lord, for the creativity and ingenuity of Jordanian women who are cultivating abandoned land to grow the seeds that sustain and nourish life. We pray a blessing on this project and others like it around the world that bring people together to grow the foods that bring life.

$1B from USDA to Cut Emissions from Farmers, Ranchers, Forest Landowners

On Monday, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will spend $1 billion on projects for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to use practices that curb climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions or capture and store carbon. The investment comes after President Joe Biden called on U.S. farmers to lead the way in offsetting emissions and pledged to slash emissions from the agriculture sector in half by 2030. The sector accounts for more than 10% of U.S. emissions, according to estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency. A range of public and private entities can apply for grants from $5 million to $100 million, the agency said, including state, local and tribal governments, nonprofits, small businesses and colleges.

For the efficient and effective use of resources, we pray. For the continued dedication and love of their land, their animals, and the places we call home, we pray. For climate solutions that protect our environment and keep communities thriving, we pray. Amen.

U.S. House Passes Bill With More Measures For Immigrants In STEM Fields

In what could become the most significant legal immigration to pass Congress in more than 30 years if retained during negotiations with the Senate, amendments to a recently passed House bill will expand immigration opportunities for foreign-born scientists and engineers. Supporters of the provisions will argue that no bill promoting innovation can justify not including improved ways to attract and retain foreign-born talent. The bill creates a temporary visa for foreign-born entrepreneurs who qualify and “Allows the founder to apply for and receive lawful permanent residence if the startup entity meets certain additional benchmarks.” The lack of a startup visa disadvantages the U.S. compared to other nations like Canada in retaining and attracting foreign-born entrepreneurs. 

For the promise of a better tomorrow, we pray, Lord. We pray fervently for fixes to an immigration that benefits some and harms so many others. And while we welcome this exciting possibility, we pray for so much more. We are in such need of an immigration system that is fair, just, and humane.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Advocate for Continued Commitment to Indigenous Rights!

It is essential that Canada take decisive and concrete action to begin to rectify the profound injustice and inequality perpetrated against Indigenous peoples. Urge the Minister of Justice and your MP to make implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act a priority, keeping to the reporting requirements as laid out in the Act when it passed, and partnering with Indigenous leaders and communities in determining how implementation will happen.

Senior Leader for Indigenous Justice & Reconciliation

The CRC in Canada has expressed values of Justice and Reconciliation in a history of solidarity work and front-line ministry alongside Indigenous communities. This is imperfect and incomplete work. We have been challenged and convicted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to prioritize justice and right relationships and acknowledge that the journey is a sharing of respect, reciprocity and responsibility among Settlers and Indigenous neighbours as treaty-covenant partners. Help us to further this journey - apply today!

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