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Justice Prayers - September 20, 2023

The waters cleanse us with his gentle touch.
And here he shows the full extent of love 
To us whose love is always incomplete,
Though we betray him, though it is the night, 
He meets us here and loves us into light.
- Maundy Thursday Malcom Guite 

Canada says major grocery chains agree to help stabilize prices

Canada's five major grocery chains have agreed to help the government in its bid to stabilize soaring prices, a senior minister said on Monday, following talks to address an issue that is hurting the ruling Liberals. Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne made the announcement after two hours of what he said were difficult discussions with the chains. The other chains attending the meeting were Loblaws, Sobeys, Walmart, and Costco, which together with Metro represent 80% of the Canadian market. Champagne, who summoned the executives to Ottawa, reiterated a threat that the government could impose new taxes if the chains do not come up with a plan to help address budget-busting price increases. "They have agreed to support the government of Canada in our efforts to stabilize prices in Canada," Champagne told reporters, without giving details. "This is a step in the right direction," he said. "We'll keep on pushing them - trust me, this is just the beginning."

We pray, O Lord, that Canadians across all provinces and territories can afford their groceries, be able to pay their rent and mortgages, and not be unbearably burdened by the costs of living. If controlling prices helps families keep food on the table, the lights on, and the bills paid, we pray for interventions that let it be so. 

US, Norway to launch Africa agriculture fund, commit $70 million

The United States and Norway will pledge a total of $70 million on Monday to launch a fund, reported here for the first time, to help farmers and agricultural businesses in Africa, a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) spokesperson said. Hunger has worsened in several regions of Africa, driven by armed conflict and extreme weather that scientists have linked to fossil fuel-driven climate change. The announcement, by USAID Administrator Samantha Power and Norwegian Minister of International Development Beathe Tvinnereim on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, comes as Russia and China vie with the United States and Europe to win over developing countries. The fund aims to reach a total of $200 million through additional contributions from donors and has the potential to benefit nearly 7.5 million people, the spokesperson said.

For the $70 million provided for agricultural support, we pray. And for each dollar thereafter from donors and other contributors, we pray for their participation and generosity. For the land to be bountiful and flourishing with abundance, we fervently pray, O God our creator and redeemer.

Iran-US prisoner Swap: 5 Americans heading to US, Iranians also freed

Iran has released five American citizens as part of a Qatari-mediated prisoner exchange with the United States, which also freed five Iranians. On Monday, the US citizens and two of the five Iranians landed in Qatar’s capital, Doha, before making their way to their own countries. The three other released Iranians are not returning to Iran, with two staying in the US and one going on to a third country. Analysts say the swap is an “important first step” but does not point to a significant change to already strained relations between Iran and the US. US President Joseph Biden says Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz, Emad Sharghi and two other citizens whose identities have not been released “will soon be reunited with their loved ones” in the United States. The agreement between Tehran and Washington, first made public on August 10, includes the release of about $6bn of frozen Iranian money.

For the 5 Americans making their way home, we pray for safe passage as well as counseling and support as they readjust to civilian life at home. We don’t know what they’ve been through nor what lies ahead, but we thank you for initiatives to bring them home.

UN summit sees western leaders defend slow progress to end global inequality

Western leaders have gone on a charm offensive on the opening day of the UN general assembly as they were forced to defend their record in meeting the organization’s sustainable development goals (SDGs), and insist that the war in Ukraine had not distracted them from this commitment to end global inequality. At a special summit in New York amounting to a halfway stocktake on progress towards meeting the goals by the target date of 2030, all sides acknowledged there was little chance that the ambitious set of commitments set in 2015, including ending extreme poverty and safeguarding the environment, will be met on schedule. A plea by the UN secretary general, António Guterres, for all sides to avoid recriminations about the cause of the failure and instead to use the two-day summit as a chance to make a global rescue plan was only partially met on the opening day. The list of 17 SDGs, which includes 169 specific targets, was first adopted at the UN sustainable development summit in September 2015, and most assessments say only 15% of the targets are on track. The UN said this month that there were 745 million more people either moderately or severely hungry in the world today than in 2015, and the world was far off-track in its efforts to meet the ambitious goal to end hunger by 2030. The world was back at hunger levels not seen since 2005, and food prices remained higher in more countries than in the period 2015 –2019. On current progress it would also take 286 years to close the proposed gender gaps in legal protection and remove discriminatory laws.

Lord God who longs to see a world marked by equity and justice, we ask for your guiding hand in these discussions about global poverty. Not meeting ambitious goals by our own deadline is no reason to stop trying, O Lord; we never know when a breakthrough might happen and more importantly, each and every person shown love and care is our highest priority.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Justice & Mission: Good News for All

As Christians, we are called to gospel-shaped mission, but that looks much different today than in the past. This is due to a changing global society, to advances in communication tools and travel, and to the very important listening to local and global neighbours about dismantling harmful ways that mission has been done in the past. 

At Synod 2023 delegates discussed addressing ministry decline and what it would look like for the CRC to live into mission in a new way. So as we seek to grow in the area together as a church how can we consider the intersection of justice and the great commission? How are mercy and justice part of God’s big mission for his church?  In this Do Justice series writers will help us to consider this topic from the places they live out God’s mission.  

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Ask Your MP to Support Bill to Reverse MAiD for Mental Illness 

Please ask your local MP to vote for Bill C-314 this fall. Bill C-314 would reverse the law allowing medical assistance in dying for people with mental illness alone. A vote in the House of Commons could come as early as Oct. 3. Please consider contacting your MP’s office – you could call to leave a message or talk with someone, or you could send an email or letter. You can also circulate a petition in support of Bill C-314 and return it to your local MP. For more resources including sample wording for a brief letter or call, visit  

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