Uniting together in prayer and hope
Leaders of the National Conferences of the Uniting Church met virtually this week, exchanging stories of faith and ministry in what has been a challenging time for many of their communities.
Middle East National Conference Chairperson Rev. Gaby Kobrossi spoke about devastating impact of the explosions in Beirut and his community’s deep concern for family and friends in Lebanon caught up in the chaos.
A week on from the explosions, Rev. Gaby shared a prayer for the people of Beirut as they grieve the many lives lost and come to terms with the scale of damage.
Other ministers shared about the ongoing challenges of pastorally caring for communities in the midst of COVID-19 with Victoria in a strict lockdown and other parts of the country facing new outbreaks. Leaders were particularly concerned about the impact of the pandemic on the young people in their communities.
On a joyful note, national conference leaders celebrated the recent Service of Admission for Indonesian National Conference Chairperson Rev. Ajub Jahja. Rev. Jahja was ordained in our partner church GKI, West Java Synod, and has been in placement with St Andrew’s Gardiner in Melbourne since 2014.
Assembly President Dr Deidre Palmer, and the Assembly Resourcing Unit, represented by Rob Floyd and Rev. Dr Apwee Ting, hosted the virtual gatherings at two separate times this week. National Safe Church Unit National Director John Cox joined the gatherings inviting the National Conference leaders to offer their support and leadership in the Uniting Church’s commitment to grow and sustain a culture of safety in all parts of the Church.
President Dr Deidre Palmer spoke of how encouraging these gatherings are, as we support each other as sisters and brothers in Christ, praying for one another in the pain and grief we are experiencing, sharing the joys and challenges and giving thanks for the continuing witness of our National Conferences in congregations and communities across the country.
Assembly Associate General Secretary Rob Floyd said the meetings provided an important opportunity for connection between key leaders in our culturally diverse communities.
“Our National Conferences play an important role in building fellowship and faith in some of our most vibrant and growing communities. Bringing these leaders together facilitates faith sharing, cooperation and building of resources that are both multicultural and intercultural,” Rob said.
He encouraged all Uniting Church members to continue to hold Beirut and members of our Middle East communities in our prayers.
Prayer from Rev. Gaby Kobrossi, Middle East National Chairperson 11 August 2020:
“From my heart, Peace to Beirut” – Rev Gaby Kobrossi
Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest? Isaiah 29:17
Beirut Remembrance Week
On this day, violence crated chaos, destroyed lives, and generated fear.
On this day, We remember the cries of the people caught amid fire and dust, the families whose loved ones never returned home after that day, the shared mourning of a frightened Lebanon On this day, We remember courageous men and woman who worked tirelessly to save lives, seek the lost, and heal the wounded.
We remember with confidence that hope is still God's way.
On this day, We Pray…
Heavenly Father, Your Love never fails;
You are the source of all mercy and giver of comfort;
Today we come before you with heavy hearts
as we remember the events of 4/8
Father we bring before you the people of Beirut, Lebanon
Unite us in solidarity with our Brothers and Sisters in Lebanon
We grieve with those who still mourn,
And share memories with those who cannot forget.
May we draw strength from those who bravely responded,
And gave their lives to save others.
We remember their generosity and hospitality.
Above all God may we remember your faithfulness
Help Lebanon to trust in your unfailing love.
May Lebanon find peace, harmony and serenity.
May the beauty of Lebanon be restored.
May your peace shattered in Beirut be renewed.
Through Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World.