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Justice Prayers - July 1, 2020

God of uncovered secrets, God of fearless truth: to have faith in your goodness is to trust that after all we would hide is revealed, and all of our whispers are heard, your undying love will remain, and your truth will stand unchanged. May we forgo our protection of self, and find life made whole in shalom. - Corrymeela

China Cracks Down on Political Dissent in Hong Kong

China's National People's Congress Standing Committee unanimously approved a security bill Tuesday that will give Beijing authority to crack down on political dissent in Hong Kong. Since 1997, the people of Hong Kong have enjoyed significant legal and civil autonomy from the more authoritarian laws that govern Chinese citizens in mainland China. The new law, which will allow the Communist Party central government to set up a security apparatus in Hong Kong to collect intelligence and investigate special national security cases, is not popular in Hong Kong, and critics warn it will be used to quash protests and other dissent directly and through intimidation. 

God, for your church in Hong Kong, which has been fighting alongside others to maintain freedom, we offer our prayers. We pray for pastors whose leadership is so important in these moment. We pray for safety for those who stand up to power. We pray for leaders in China to make decisions that provide dignity and protect the flourishing of all people over whom they have power. We pray, God, for Hong Kong.

Canada’s judicial System slow to diversify

Despite the Trudeau government's promise to appoint a more diverse group of judges, change has been slow. Since 2016, only three per cent of federal judicial appointments have self-identified as Indigenous and eight per cent have identified as visible minorities. Federal Court Justice Paul Favel, originally from the Poundmaker Cree Nation, is the only Indigenous judge on the Federal Court and just the second in Canadian history. He thinks Canada needs more "aggressive timelines" to succeed.

God, we pray for all those in Canada who are impacted by a judicial system that doesn’t represent them. We give thanks for the gifts of diversity -- it is the way you created the world. It leads to better thinking, more just outcomes, and more compassionate policies. For the journey toward a more diverse judicial system in Canada, we offer our prayers.

Uganda Deforestation Problem Met with New Ideas

With only 10% of Uganda’s rural population connected to the electrical grid, there is little option for people to survive apart from burning wood, leading to one of the worst deforestation rates in the world. If things stay as they are, Uganda will lose all its forest cover in less than 25 years. The knock-on effect of deforestation has been severe across the country, leading to irregular dry seasons, prolonged periods of drought and unpredictable heavy rainfall. In May, deadly floods wrought havoc in western Uganda, destroying homes, schools and farms. The region saw similar floods in December, and experts have pointed to excessive tree clearing as the cause. But one way to tackle the problem has been devised by a local group—turning mud into energy-saving cooking stoves. The leader of a scout troop has been working with volunteers to built around 100 stoves over the past three years.

God, for the innovative and hope-filled work of one man in Uganda, hoping to reverse a dangerous trend in his country, we pray. We pray for people to respond. We pray that they, too, may feel a spark of hope. We pray for the land and trees and health of the ecosystem in Uganda, and for the people who rely on it for their livelihoods, too. Draw near to them, Lord, and protect them.

Children ordered to be released from U.S. Detention

Citing the unrelenting spread of the coronavirus, a federal judge has ordered that all children currently held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody for more than 20 days must be released by July 17. The judge said that the Trump administration had failed to provide even the most basic health protections for children and their families amid the pandemic. The order, which applies to all three of the family detention facilities in the United States, essentially forces ICE to adhere to existing laws established in the Flores agreement, which limits how long minors can be held in ICE custody. Until now, ICE has been reluctant to release children held in family detention centers "because in order to do it in a humane way, they have to release the child with a parent," Cooper said. Instead, the Trump administration has offered families a binary choice: Stay together in detention or allow the children to be transferred to a sponsor or family member somewhere in the United States. Advocates are pressuring the administration to allow families to be released together.

God, for children who have been incarcerated for so long, we pray. Heal their trauma, Lord. For parents who do not know where their children are, or where they will go next, we pray. Heal their trauma, Lord. For families who are praying that they might stay together, we pray. Heal their trauma, Lord. We give thanks for this good news, and pray that it might be a step toward healing for these suffering people. Empower us to use our voices to demand policies which honor their dignity.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Continuing Welcome 

Continuing Welcome, a progress report on Canada’s commitment to refugee sponsorship, identifies emerging barriers to sponsorship, including the prospect of COVID-related processing backlogs. Join us in encouraging Canada to continue deepening its commitment to welcoming refugees as an integrated element of pandemic response and recovery.  Take action today!  

National Indigenous History Month

June is National Indigenous History Month.  To celebrate and mark the occassion watch the videos that the Canadian Indigenous Ministry Committee has made avaliable.  Their latest videos feature both of the work of the Committee and the what the Christian Reformed Church has done to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call's to Action.  

The Reformed family is a diverse family with a diverse range of opinions. Not all perspectives expressed on the blog represent the official positions of the Christian Reformed Church. Learn more about this blog, Reformed doctrines, and our diversity policy on our About page.

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