When I was a young boy of 10 or 12 years of age, I would go over to a friend’s house to play. He had an older brother – seemed much older, and apparently wiser, but he was probably just in high school at the time. In one series of visits to their home I recall that, after he said, “Hi,” he would ask me, “So what do you think of the world situation?” I do not recall exactly how I responded, but I do remember wondering, “Exactly what IS the world situation?”
Today, as I am certain it was in the middle of the 1960’s, the “world situation” is constantly changing, occasionally positive and promising, but regularly negative and challenging. I will share just four things from recent news headlines that have been at least partially defining the “world situation.”
First: Wildfires and smoke in Western Canada. Pretty much the entire town of Lytton, BC, was consumed by a forest fire a couple of weeks ago. At last count over 350 fires were active in British Columbia. Smaller numbers in Alberta this summer, but larger numbers again in northern Saskatchewan, as well as in some areas in the United States. If you have not been affected directly by a fire, but live anywhere in Western Canada, you have probably been affected by smoke in the air, which has originated in those fires. I am not aware of church members directly affected by the fires. Prayers, of course, are in order for all residents in the path of fires and for all those involved in fighting them.
Second: Deadly Floods in Western Europe. The World Church “announcements” web page reiterates the situation of over 100 people dead in Germany and another 1,300 missing. The national ministry coordinator for Germany reports that Community of Christ members are thought to be safe. The coordinator for Belgium notes families may be without water, electricity, mobile connections, and had little food. Prayers are requested for everyone affected. No mention in the announcement of financial aid being needed or extended from the church at this time.
Third: India is being affected by continuing growth and persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Community of Christ has sent over US$102,000 to assist the seven mission centres in the country with providing help to over 4,300 families with “masks, soap, and other supplies as well as rice and other cooking items.” Prayers are requested at this time for church members and other residents of India during this devastating time.
Fourth: Haiti is dealing with political and social turmoil which has arisen following the assassination of their President. This is simply added to the continuing crises arising from surging COVID-19 cases, growing poverty, violence, and general political unrest. The president of the Great South Haiti Mission Center has requested “prayers for Haiti and for Community of Christ in Haiti as everyone navigates the days to come.” Aid will be provided by Community of Christ as the needs of members and friends are identified. Canada West has an indirect connection to the church in Haiti because their Apostle is also our Apostle, Art Smith.
These are just four situations that are prominent in our news sources at the moment. Others could also be mentioned. There may even be a good news story or two that could be shared.
My point in writing today is to point out that the “world situation” is comprised of events that affect real people in real ways – in some case real people who may be close to us and real ways that we may be able to assist with.
Please remember to contribute to the church’s Oblation funds (“Reduce Hunger, End Needless Suffering”) to assist the three situations described above that originate from the church’s announcements page. There are a number of organizations accepting donations to assist those affected by the fires in BC and elsewhere – please consult your local community service organization listings. If you are aware of any church members or friends who have particular needs arising from the fires, please contact your Pastor or your Congregation Financial Officer, or the Mission Centre President (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Financial Officer (email@example.com).
As always, I pray for you God’s blessings of joy, hope, love, and peace in these challenging times.
Canada West Mission Centre President
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Guelph, ON N1K 1S5 Canada
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