Archbishop Issues Invite to All to Pray for Zimbabwe
Wednesday 25th February 2009Dr. John Sentamu, has issued an invitation for people to come to join him today in a city centre Church in York praying for the people of Zimbabwe.
The Archbishop, who has today launched a joint appeal with the Archbishop of Canterbury for Zimbabwe, will spend the day at St. Helen's Church in St. Helen's Square in the centre of York.
Dr. Sentamu, who will lead public prayers on the hour every hour from 9 am, will also conduct a day long fast and is encouraging others to join him.
The Archbishop said:
"During times of great need and uncertainty, Christ's command for us to love our neighbour as ourselves becomes more urgent than ever. Our duty goes beyond that to the person next door, but extends across oceans and barren lands.
Three weeks ago, the Primates of the Anglican Communion unanimously called for a concerted initiative of aid and support for the Church's community work in Zimbabwe, and today Rowan Williams and I are launching our own Archbishops' Appeal here in the UK.
"The humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe is now at an appalling level. It's estimated that perhaps half the population is now under threat of starvation; and the deaths from cholera and ill health continue to rise.
"The Church remains a trusted deliverer of aid at grass roots level, capable of getting food and medical supplies to those who need them, and we urge everyone, inside and outside the Christian Church, to give it their strong support.
"And for Christian believers, we want to repeat the Primates' call for prayer and fasting especially today, Ash Wednesday – accepting our responsibility to stand alongside all who are suffering in Zimbabwe.
"Make no mistake that it will be the poor who are hardest hit by our current economic uncertainty. We need to remind a battered and violated population that their dignity still matters and that change is possible.
The Church continues with its school feeding programmes - its schools working as food distribution points and so guaranteeing both nourishment and education for the young - with its work for the soaring numbers of orphans from cholera and AIDS, with its basic local health clinics and its trauma counselling for victims of torture. If the country is ever to be rebuilt – and a society can be destroyed pretty quickly but can only be rebuilt slowly, over generations – the Church will be central to the project."