21 May 2017 has been declared a Global Day of Prayer for those affected by the severe hunger crisis across the Horn of Africa. The day is being led by the World Council of Churches and the All African Conference of Churches. The Anglican Alliance is joining the call on churches worldwide to participate in a united day of prayer and response to the famines.
The United Nations has said that this will be the world’s largest humanitarian crisis since 1945, with more than 20 million people at risk of famine in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen. Millions more are being affected by severe drought and food shortages across East Africa.
In Matthew 25, Jesus calls his Church to feed the hungry and serve the most vulnerable. As churches across the world we have the opportunity to come together across cultures and traditions to join in committed prayer and action for the most vulnerable.
The Anglican Alliance is already actively engaged in coordinating support to the Episcopal Church in South Sudan as it responds with food aid and cash transfers to support vulnerable families facing extreme hunger. The Anglican Alliance has also been raising the concerns through its networks and website about the risks of famine in Yemen, North Eastern Nigeria and the food crisis more widely in East, Central and Southern Africa.
The Anglican Alliance is also part of an international initiative called Renew Our World, campaigning for clean renewable energy and sustainable agriculture for the world’s poorest communities.
The Alliance continues to call for prayer and supportive action.
A video in support of the Global Day of Prayer to End Famine has been produced by World Vision.
It is hoped that this global prayer movement will prompt practical action and an urgent response to the crisis before it escalates further. As the G7 meet in Italy on 26-27 May 2017, Christians are encouraged to call for urgent action by making their participation in the Global Day of Prayer known and raising awareness of the crisis.
The World Council of Churches and All African Conference of Churches have said:
“There is a great danger that on its current course the global response to this crisis will be hugely inadequate and will lead to unimaginable suffering and death, which is eminently avoidable. We believe the churches have a prophetic role in calling to mobilize their members, the wider society and governments and making a difference during this unprecedented period of suffering.”
‘For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you have me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’ Matthew 25:35
Prayer, giving and advocacy resources are available on the World Vision website at http://www.wvi.org/global-day-of-prayer
You can sign up to join the Global Day of Prayer at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/D3WJ7Q3
Current situation in South Sudan and Communion-wide response
The Anglican Alliance’s recent update with Rev Joseph Loabe, the general manager of SUDRA, the relief agency of the Episcopal Church in South Sudan, has revealed that children are severely malnourished across many parts of South Sudan, due to lack of sufficient nutritious food. This week he reported that SUDRA was working with the local church emergency committee in Rubkona, Unity state, to deliver food to vulnerable families who have fled the worst affected famine areas such as Leer.
Famine was declared in February in Unity state and agencies have been responding. However the situation has been building for months with devastating impacts, particularly on children. Malnutrition can have life-long impact on children as it stunts both physical and mental development.
Mama Harriet Baka, provincial Mothers’ Union coordinator, reported last month that “most areas are inaccessible [for relief supplies]. There is massive displacement because of the food insecurity. The situation is desperate, the hunger, the fear.”
Dr Janice Proud, Anglican Alliance Relief Manager, said, “It is time to act. We need an end to hunger and malnutrition. We need support for relief activities, such as those of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan. But more than anything we need to pray and advocate that people can live in peace, have access to climate sensitive farming methods, have livelihood opportunities and access to appropriate nutritious food. For this to happen world leaders need to listen to the needs of the most vulnerable and ensure policies that allow these communities to flourish.”
You can get involved by praying and encouraging others to pray, giving and encouraging others to give, and advocating and encouraging others to advocate. There are links to the Anglican agencies working with SUDRA in South Sudan below. Further resources for pray and advocacy are available on the World Vision website at http://www.wvi.org/global-day-of-prayer.
Please support the appeals to get funds to SUDRA to reach the most vulnerable. The Church is well placed to reach into areas that others agencies cannot reach.