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Justice Prayers - New Years 2024

Lord, thank you for 2023.  I put my 2024 in your hands.  

As we exit 2023 we intentionally pray with gratitude for good news from this year.    

Dedicated to helping those fleeing from war, couple sponsors 11 Ukrainians

When Russia invaded Ukraine, countless Americans watched the images of war in horror. But for one couple in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the conflict hit close to home in a number of ways. 

Anastasiya Veli is Ukrainian and Orhan Veli is half Russian – but he also knows all too well what it's like to be a refugee.  At the age of 11, Orhan's family fled Azerbaijan when conflict began in the region after the Soviet Union broke apart.  "I was a kid without anything. My parents had nothing. And little by little we were able to kind of build that," Orhan told CBS News. His dad, once an engineer, became a pizza delivery driver when he moved to the U.S. Eventually, he became a business owner, running several Saladworks locations. Orhan became his business partner. A few weeks into the war, the U.S. opened Uniting for Ukraine — a pathway for people in the U.S. to sponsor Ukrainian refugees. Anastasiya filled out an application to bring her niece and her daughter over, saying the process was simple. "You just have to provide an explanation of how you will help the people coming over assimilate and how you will support them financially, with housing, with work opportunity and so on," she said.  They met the qualifications and felt grateful they had the finances to sponsor people. So, after bringing two people over, they brought another friend over. Then another. And eventually, they helped save 11 people.

For the Veli family - Anastasiya and Orhan - we are so immensely grateful for their incredible witness to the transformative power of hospitality, which in this case, drastically transformed the lives of so many. We pray that each of us might find the strength to embody the kind of hospitality that the Veli family have witnessed to each of us.

Native American Headdress Set to be Returned to Blackfoot Homeland After Century in UK Museum

A sacred Native American headdress is set to be returned to its original owners, after being displayed in a UK museum for more than a century. Exhibited by the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter since 1920, the origins of the stunning ceremonial headdress traces back to the Blackfoot Nation of Alberta, Canada. Known as a ‘bird bundle’, it features eagle feathers, blue indigo bunting feathers, red-tailed hawk feathers, buffalo horns, porcupine quills and brass bells. The item was identified as a ‘sacred ceremonial item’ in 2013 by elders from the Sikiska tribe of the Blackfoot Nation, and last year a delegation from the community visited the museum in Devon to discuss reclaiming the item. Exeter City Councillors decided on November 8 to return the item, which traditionally is worn by a holy woman of the Holy Buffalo Woman Society known as Motokiks. The headdress was acquired originally by Edgar Dewdney, Lieutenant Governor of the Northwest Territories and a Canadian MP, who worked as a Canadian rail surveyor and became ‘Indian Commissioner’ in the country in 1892. Reports say it remains a mystery how he specifically acquired the item.

Creator God, we pray for healing in the Blackfoot Nation of Alberta as this headdress is returned to its rightful owners. For all those who long for the return of what they call sacred, for all that’s been stolen under the guise of research, historical record keeping, and downright theft, we pray for a just resolution, O God.


Some Good News About the Planet for a Change
  • China is on track to almost double its current wind and solar capacity by 2025 and blow past the country’s clean power target five years early, according to Global Energy Monitor. The nation has announced or begun construction on enough projects that its total wind and solar capacity is likely to reach 1,371 gigawatts by 2025, the research company said in a June report. That would vastly exceed a goal President Xi Jinping set in late 2020 of having 1,200GW of panels and turbines by 2030.

  • A year after President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, the most significant climate law in US history, data show that investments for a new green economy are pouring in: $110b in private investment, 51 new or expanded plants for producing solar panels, 91 new factories for making batteries and about 170,000 clean energy jobs.

  • For the first time, companies and governments are raising more money in the debt markets for environmentally friendly projects than they are for fossil fuels. Almost $350 billion was raised from green bond sales and loan arrangements in the first half of this year, compared with less than $235 billion of oil-, gas- and coal-related financing, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News. The ratio was roughly $300 billion green versus $315 billion fossil fuels in the same period last year.

  • Youth climate activists won a lawsuit against Montana in August that could set a sweeping precedent. They challenged a state law that limits climate change considerations during the environmental reviews of proposed fossil fuel projects. The court ruled the law violated the plaintiffs’ right to a clean and healthful environment as guaranteed in the state’s constitution.

God, we give you thanks for each and every person, organization, and initiative contribution to the restoration to our collective home. We pray that their efforts might be blessed mightily, built upon with great vigor and enthusiasm, and all those who remain on the sidelines or in opposition will be inspired to care for your Creation in a new way!

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