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Justice Prayers - November 29, 2023

The only way to survive the waves is to keep the beat of your heart in rhythm with the One who walks on water.  - Ann Voskamp 

Qatar says deal reached to extend truce by two days

Israel and Hamas agreed to extend their truce for two more days, according to officials in Qatar who helped negotiate the initial cease-fire, as Israeli officials signaled that a fourth exchange of hostages and prisoners would go forward Monday. Majed Al-Ansari, a spokesman for the foreign ministry of Qatar, which has helped mediate the talks that led to the initial pause in fighting, said an “agreement has been reached to extend the humanitarian truce for an additional two days in the Gaza Strip.” It did not elaborate on the terms. More than 14,854 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since October 7. In Israel, the official death toll stands at 1,200.

Lord God of peace and justice, we pray that the laying down of arms may continue to be extended, and extended, and extended, until the weapons and the violence that have dominated this conflict be put aside for negotiations. For the coming days, we pray for food, water, good rest, and evacuations where needed, in great abundance, Lord.

Three Palestinian students aged 20 shot in Vermont, US

Three young Palestinian men have been shot near a university campus in Vermont in the US weeks after a six-year-old Palestinian-American boy was stabbed to death, raising alarms against rising Islamophobia in the country. According to police, the victims were speaking Arabic and two of them were wearing a keffiyeh when attacked. Two were shot in the torso and one in the “lower extremities”. Police were searching for the suspect after the attack at around 6:25pm (23:25 GMT) on Saturday, Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad said in a statement on Sunday. Two of the men were in stable condition and the other suffered “much more serious injuries”, the police chief added. The man suspected of shooting three Palestinian college students in Burlington, Vermont, pleaded not guilty Monday to three charges of attempted murder in the second degree. Jason J. Eaton, 48, was arrested Sunday afternoon near the scene of the attack, the Burlington Police Department said. At Monday’s arraignment hearing, the judge ordered Eaton to be held without bond.

For each of the 3 young men whose bodies were pierced with metal, we pray for healing, for doctors and nurses caring for them, and law enforcement to help provide answers as to the why. The what, Lord, has already been answered, and is marked by scars that will linger forever, fear that enters the hearts of all who wonder ‘am I next?’, and the seeds of violence sown here in this soil. For justice and healing, we pray. And for each and every Arab-American, Palestinian-American, and all who feel isolated and afraid given the implications of violence in Israel and Gaza, we pray that they might be supported greater than ever before.

COP28 Kicks Off in Dubai

In Dubai, leaders are expected to discuss their progress, or lack thereof, in limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels. That’s the threshold beyond which scientists say that humans will have trouble adapting to intensifying wildfires, heat waves, drought and storms. In 2015, countries agreed to cut emissions from burning coal, oil and gas to keep global warming “well below 2 degrees Celsius” and ideally no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, but the planet has already warmed an average of 1.2 degrees Celsius, and while the United States and some other countries have reduced their greenhouse gases, global emissions are continuing to rise.


The United Arab Emirates planned to use its role as the host of UN climate talks as an opportunity to strike oil and gas deals, the BBC has learned. Leaked briefing documents reveal plans to discuss fossil fuel deals with 15 nations. The UN body responsible for the COP28 summit told the BBC hosts were expected to act without bias or self-interest. The UAE team did not deny using COP28 meetings for business talks, and said "private meetings are private".

It declined to comment on what was discussed in the meetings and said its work has been focused on "meaningful climate action".

President Biden

President Biden will not attend a major United Nations climate summit that begins Thursday in Dubai, skipping an event expected to be attended by King Charles III, Pope Francis and leaders from nearly 200 countries, a White House official said Sunday. The official, who asked to remain anonymous to discuss the president’s schedule, did not give a reason Mr. Biden will not make an appearance at the two-week summit, known as COP28, but senior White House aides suggested that the war between Israel and Hamas had consumed the president in recent weeks and days, as he pressed for a pause in fighting and release of hostages held by Hamas. “They’ve got the war in the Middle East and a war in Ukraine, a bunch of things going on,” John Kerry, Mr. Biden’s special envoy for climate change, said last week. Mr. Kerry and his team will be in Dubai.

Each of these meetings feels like a last chance, and like many of these gatherings before it, there is a great deal to be skeptical about, to feel hopeless about, and to be furious about. For the next two weeks, though, we pray for the decision makers, the policy experts, the diplomats, and the faithful observers who ought to be there with one singular purpose: how do we work together to protect, restore, and envision a future in which all thrive. Help them, Lord.

Montreal police investigate vandalism at Jewish school, firebombing incident

Montreal police say they are investigating an act of vandalism found at a Jewish school in Saint-Laurent. They are also looking into an attempted firebombing at a Jewish institution.

Police said the graffiti was discovered Saturday afternoon on the school grounds at Ecole Maimonide, a private Jewish school, on Bourdon St. A Facebook post showed the words "Israel terrorist" spray painted on cement outside the school. Meantime, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the Jewish Community Council building on Decarie Boulevard near Vezina at 1 a.m. Monday. Damage was minimal and no one was injured. The incidents are expected to be turned over to hate crimes investigators. No one has been arrested in either incident so far, said police. These are the latest in a string of incidents targeting both the Jewish and Arab-Muslim communities in Montreal since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7. The executive director of the Jewish Community Council issued a statement condemning what he described as a frightening rise in antisemitism and the recent crimes targeting Montreal Jewish institutions.

For communities in Montreal that are reeling in the aftermath of this hate-filled violence, we pray that they might find themselves in physical safety this evening. For psychological safety, we pray that members of the community might rally around this school and community council with great love so as to demonstrate that all belong in Montreal and Canada; that the perpetrators might be brought to justice and that that the Jewish community may know they are safe and they belong.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Caring for Volunteers

How is your church volunteer community? Is it thriving? Are you lacking volunteers post-COVID? Many churches are finding themselves in the midst of a volunteer shortage. If your church would like support in this area, the Thrive team has developed a workshop for you to navigate this reality. Reach out to them anytime for support!  Learn More »

Wampum Craft Kids Activity

Do you need a kids activity for Sunday School or while your church hosts a KAIROS Blanket Exercise?  This lesson plan offers stories, crafts, and discussion ideas.  

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