Bishop Pierre Whalon invites his colleagues and us to hold the people of Democratic Republic of Congo in prayer this coming Sunday, November 23, 2008. Meanwhile, African religious leaders call for the various parties in the conflict to honor their agreements and stop the violence.
Bishop Whalon writes:
Date : 17 novembre 2008 10:35:40 HNEC
As you know, the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to fester. Much is still underreported. In addition to the crisis in the Goma region, there are two areas of rebel activity in Congo which have not hit the news: the Dungu area, in the north, where the Lord’s Resistance Army has attacked villages and abducted adults and children in recent weeks, and also the Gety/Aveba/Nyankunde region, close to Bunia, where a new militia group emerged in late September and displaced many people from their homes.
Our Anglican sisters and brothers in those areas have been deeply affected, and are in the forefront of relief efforts and peacemaking.
I am echoing Archbishop Fidèle Dirokpa’s call for a day of prayer for peace in the Congo on Sunday 23 November.
You can use the following prayer, if you like, or do your own.
O God of peace and abundant life,
You call peacemakers your children.
Let your Holy Spirit guide and govern all those who are making peace in Congo,
and give them success,
So that all your people may have that abundant life promised through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the same Spirit, one God in Holy Trinity. Amen.
Episcopal Relief and Development is sending aid. Please encourage your people to help in any way they can—prayer first, but also material help as well. See http://www.er-d.org/ for information on sending direct help.
Here is a short documentary on the underlying issues that have led to what is called “The Third World War.” Five million have already died…
Thank you in advance,
The Lutheran World Federation reports:
Representatives of a Pan-African grouping of faith leaders say the mineral resource-based conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) could be prevented if signatories to peace agreements honored their stated commitments.
Key leaders of the Inter-Faith Action for Peace in Africa (IFAPA) also appealed to the continent’s religious leaders to urgently engage political leadership in the DRC and neighboring countries to end a crisis for which civilians continued to suffer the greatest atrocities.
“Are we not moved by the inhuman conditions of those [internally displaced] mothers and children? Is it not correct to say that while this war is raving, the mineral resources are being taken out of the country for the benefit of others other than the citizens of the DRC?” remarked IFAPA president and general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), the Rev Dr Ishmael Noko, in his keynote address to the third IFAPA Commission meeting, taking place, 10-13 November, in Entebbe, near the Ugandan capital Kampala. Established in 2002, IFAPA comprises representatives of Africa’s seven main faith traditions.
In the past few weeks, fighting has intensified between government soldiers and rebels allied to dissident general Laurent Nkunda in the mineral-rich eastern DRC region, especially North and South Kivu, with relief agencies reporting massive displacement of civilians. Nearly 200,000 people, according to United Nations’ relief agency reports, are receiving emergency assistance near the city of Goma, while an unknown number is said to be cut off in the nearby forest.
HT to Ekklesia.
Bishop Whalon keeps BIshopBlogging
Ekklesia reports on the Congolese Catholic Bishops’ Conference protest of the situation in their country:
Member of the permanent committee of the Congolese Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CENCO) have issued a “cry of grief and protest” about the murderous situation in their country – calling for more concerted action from the UN, the authorities and the international community.
The bishops say that they are “disturbed and overcome by the human tragedy in the east and northeast Democratic Republic of Congo”, and that many in their congregations and communities have been affected by the appalling violence there.
In a message sent to Agenzia Fides (entitled “The Democratic Republic of Congo mourns its children without consolation”) the CENCO members affirm that in the eastern part of the country they are witnessing a “a silent genocide.”
“The great massacres of the population, the planned extermination of the youth, the systematic robberies used as a weapon of war…a cruelty and exceptional violence is once again being unleashed upon the local people who only ask that they can live in a decent manner in their homeland. Who is willing to take interest in this situation?”
The Bishops criticise the UN peacekeeping force, saying that “the most deplorable fact is that the violence is taking place right before the eyes of those whose duty it is to maintain peace and protect the civilian population.”