This weekend, the World Mission Council hosted a conference ” If one suffers” focussing on Christians as minorities
in other lands, the pressures they are under, the difficulties they face – and what we can do to support them.
It was great to see so many people attend this event at St Leonard’s in the Field church in Perth – where they provided
great hospitality. The keynote speaker was Dr Khataza Gondwe – Team leader for Africa and the Middle East with Christian
Solidarity Worldwide, and she shared her insights as to the situation of Christians in Egypt, the Sudan and South Sudan and Nigeria.
Some of what she said was hard for us to hear, as she had visited a number of outlying regions, especially in Nigeria,
where violence against Christians can be very harsh and barbaric in its nature, where villages can at time face churches and houses
being burned down, and people including women and children can be beaten to death.
In the afternoon, we had workshops, led by Khataza on women as minorities, and also by Margo Sabella talking about the perspective of
a Palestinian woman, and Rev Aftab Gohar on Pakistan today. All these workshops provided great insight, and much food for thought.
Rev Andrew Mclellan led worship at the beginning and end of the day, helping us think about the importance of God in the midst of it all,
and about waiting upon Him, and knowing that He is still in charge. Readings from Habakkuk helped us to reflect.
The purpose of the conference was to encourage people to be better informed about these issues, and there were stalls from Christian Aid,
World Mission Council, Release International and Christian Solidarity Worldwide. At the end of the conference we were encouraged to pray,
as prayer can change so much for an individual and community – as they had recently experienced in Jos in Nigeria. We were also encouraged
to write letters to prisoners, to raise their spirits, and help them know that they are not forgotten. Writing letters to MP’s and MSP’s and MEP’s
was also encouraged. Resources to follow this up can be found at the CSW and Release International websites, so you can write to a prisoner
at Christmas, and help them to know God’s love in a very tangible way. Prisoners like Asia Bibi in Pakistan, and Pastor Nadarkhani in Iran
need our prayers – and there are so many others like them. Please support our brothers and sisters in Christ in any way you can, for we are all
part of the same Christian family.
Thank you for your prayers and support on this important issue