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Justice Prayers - January 11, 2022

"God made sky and soil, sea and all the fish in it. He always does what he says— he defends the wronged, he feeds the hungry. God frees prisoners— he gives sight to the blind, he lifts up the fallen." - Psalm 146:3 MSG 

U.S. Senate Passes the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act,

The Senate has passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, as part of the fiscal year 2023 federal budget legislation. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would require employers with 15 or more employees to provide “reasonable accommodations” for pregnant employees (including any worker and job applicant with known limitations associated with pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions). Those accommodations would include an extra bathroom break, a stool to sit on, limiting contact with certain chemicals and a reduction in lifting requirements.

God, we pray for pregnant workers who may now - with this news - breathe easier at work knowing they have legal protections that protect them from the strenuous nature of so many jobs that put themselves and their babies at risk. Thank you, O Lord.

Hamilton uncovers another decades-old leak dumping sewage into Lake Ontario

The city of Hamilton says it has discovered another sewage leak that has been dumping waste into Lake Ontario for more than two decades, and the mayor said it will continue to search underground for other leaks. The revelation comes after the city reported in November that a leak discovered in 1996 had dumped 337 million liters of sewage into the Port of Hamilton in the 26 years it went undetected. The city says it confirmed the latest leak – which has also been appearing since 1996 – on Monday after an investigation into the previous leak. The investigation shows that since 1996, when a 100-year-old combined sewer pipe was connected to a newly built storm sewer, no fewer than 11 residential buildings have discharged sewage into the port. The city says employees don’t know how much sewage has been dumped into the port since then, but promise to report the number when an assessment is complete. Mayor Andrea Horwath said on Tuesday they discovered the latest leak shortly after launching a risk assessment tool to help locate other leaks. In 2018, the city discovered a massive sewage leak that released 24 billion gallons of sewage into Chedoke Creek. 

God, we wonder how much damage has been done to Lake Ontario - to the people who use it, to the sea creatures who live in it, and the communities that buttress it - for decades from these leaks. We pray for swift and comprehensive solutions, and a commitment to ensuring this never happens again.

Haiti’s political crisis worsens as Senate terms expire

The deepening political crisis in Haiti has come into renewed focus as the country’s only remaining senators saw their terms expire overnight, an alarming development in a country beset by surging gang violence and instability. The Senate was Haiti’s last democratically elected institution, though its ranks had been reduced to just 10 after the country failed to hold legislative elections in 2019 to fill vacant seats. Those 10 senators represented a country of nearly 12 million people. But as their terms expired overnight on Tuesday, the Caribbean country has been left without a single legislator in its House or Senate. “It’s a very grim situation,” Alex Dupuy, a Haitian-born sociologist at Wesleyan University in the United States, told The Associated Press news agency. “One of the worst crises that Haiti has had since the Duvalier dictatorship.” Gang violence has been on the rise in Haiti in recent months, particularly after the power vacuum created by the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise, who had been ruling by decree. The country’s de facto leader, interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry, whom Moise chose for the post just days before he was killed, has faced a crisis of legitimacy, with some Haitian civil society leaders urging him to hand power over to an inclusive, transitional government.

Help, Lord. Help Haiti and all its people as they traverse this profoundly trying time. We pray for peace and safety, for food and clean water, and for a clear path forward for all Haitans. 

Evacuations in California Ordered as Mudslide and Flood Risks Grow

Relentless rains that started falling on Sunday have flooded parts of Los Angeles and led to evacuation orders for nearly 50,000 residents across California as rivers continue to rise and mudslide fears grow. At least 17 people have died since storms began pounding the state in late December. Forecasters warned Californians to expect unusual bouts of hail, lightning storms, wind gusts of up to 60 miles an hour and possibly even tornadoes to go along with the heavy rain for much of Tuesday. Experts say the cost of the damage done by the storms could top $1 billion. Looking ahead, seven more inches of rain could fall in many parts of California over the next several days, as yet another “enormous cyclone” that is forming off the coast slams areas of Northern California and the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday, the Weather Service said.

For the thousands who have so often fled fires and now find themselves fleeing from rain, we pray. For those whose lives have constantly been turned upside down by weather they cannot control, we pray. For rescue workers, electrical workers restoring power, cooks preparing meals, medical personnel administering care, we pray.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

The third Sunday in January is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Our resources can help your church to honor the day. Synod has encouraged Christian Reformed churches to commemorate the day’s significance (Synod 1981 and Synod 1995). OSJ would like to help churches commemorate the sanctity of human life in ways that are sensitive and mindful of the impact abortion has on society, our churches, and members of our congregations.

Social Justice Offering Sunday 

People across the Christian Reformed Church are engaging in important justice work on issues such as immigration, refugees, sanctity of human life, Indigenous justice, religious persecution, creation care, and more! The CRCNA's work in social justice helps CRC members continue love our neighbors in tangible ways.  Read more about our work.

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