Leader of the Anglican Church in North America Issues Call to Prayer on Syria as Legislators, Others Debate the Wisdom of U.S. Involvement


The Most Reverend Robert Wm. Duncan, Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church in North America (Photo Credit: Faith J. H. McDonnell)



The Most Reverend Robert Wm. Duncan, Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church in North America (Photo Credit: Faith J. H. McDonnell)

This week, the Most Reverend Robert William Duncan, Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, urged the Church to pray for the Syrian Church. Duncan released the following call to prayer on Wednesday, September 4, 2013:

Syria’s destructive civil war has now been raging for more than two years, and millions of helpless Christians are innocently caught in the conflict, having already suffered significant pressure and persecution, some of which has been intentional at the hands of Islamic radicals. The failure of Islamic leaders to denounce these actions specifically against Christians is unacceptable. They should be joining in the work to condemn and end this persecution.

Many thousands of Christians have been displaced by threats and violence, as mainly Christian areas have been invaded or attacked. Many Syrian Christian leaders are concerned that the Church in their country may be wiped out altogether, despite its long history.

Two bishops of the Syrian Orthodox Church have been abducted and remain unaccounted for.  Their voices are numbered among those who have been silenced by the conflict in Syria.

Archbishop Duncan said, “Syria’s faithful Christians have suffered for many months.  We are reminded in Hebrews 13, “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.” I am calling the Anglican Church in North America to pray for protection for the Syrian Church, relief for those who are suffering and wisdom for the international community as they consider how to respond.”

Please remember to pray for the Syrian Christians and for all of the people of Syria, and as Archbishop Duncan has urged, these three points in particular:  Protection for protection for the Syrian Church; Relief for those who are suffering; and Wisdom for the international community (including our own U.S. government) as they consider how to respond. You may also wish to follow the directive of His Holiness Pope Francis, who has called for a global day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria and the Middle East on Saturday, September 7.

Wisdom is definitely needed. As legislators debate heatedly whether or not to approve President Obama’s decision for missile strikes against the Syrian government, those opposed continued to raise their voices. While some church leaders, such as Archbishop Duncan have remained focused on prayer and on the plight of the Syriac Christian community, others have voiced unambiguous opposition to President Obama’s plan. Some, such as Pope Francis, express opposition to war in general. Others are deeply concerned by their feelings that there remains a lack of clarity about who actually is responsible for the chemical weapons’ use — President Bashar Al-Assad or the Islamist rebels. They declare that by striking against Assad’s government, the United States would be assisting in turning Syria over to Al Qaeda.

It is not clear what percentage of the rebels fighting against the Assad regime are affiliated with Al Qaeda, but the majority are nevertheless hardcore Islamists who would immediately impose an intolerant Sharia state that would leave Christians and moderate Muslims under severe repression…or worse. And it is definitely clear that a brutal jihad is already being perpetrated against Syrian Christians and pro-Assad Syrians by these Islamists.

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