A Peace Vigil for Ukraine was held in Southampton’s Guildhall Square last Friday evening, 11th March, addressed by religious and civic community leaders including the Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Alex Houghton; The Right Reverend Debbie Sellin, Bishop of Southampton; Councillor Daniel Fitzhenry – Leader of Southampton City Council; Nikki Walters – Southampton City of Sanctuary; Dr Parvin Damani MBE – Muslim Council of Southampton; Chris Webb – a pastor at Above Bar Church and William Brook-Hart – City of Sanctuary and SWVG.
Our Father, who art in heaven, slow to anger, and of great mercy, lover of all peoples of the earth,
Hallowed be thy Name. Remind us that “all the nations are as nothing before thee,” their governments but a shadow of passing age;
Thy kingdom come on earth. Grant to thy children throughout the world, and especially to the leaders of the nations, the gift of prayerful thought and thoughtful prayer; that following the example of our Lord, we may discern what is right, and do it;
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Help us to protect and to provide for all who are hungry and homeless, especially those who are deprived of food and shelter, family and friends, by the tragedy of war;
Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us for neglecting to “seek peace and pursue it,” and finding ourselves in each new crisis, more ready to make war than to make peace. “We have not loved thee with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves”;
Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Let us not seek revenge, but reconciliation; Let us not delight in victory, but in justice; Let us not give ourselves up to pride, but to prayer;
Lead us not into temptation. Be present to all thy children ravaged by war: Be present to those who are killing and to those who are being killed; Be present to the loved ones of those who are killing and to the loved ones of those who are being killed;
Deliver us from evil. Subdue our selfish desires to possess and to dominate, and forbid us arrogance in victory;
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Founded in 1998 with roots going back to 1955, LSESD is a Lebanese faith-based organization with a focus on inclusive education, relief & development, and equipping the church. With its reach throughout the Middle East & North Africa, LSESD seeks to empower the local Church and serve the local community regardless of background by:
Restoring hope to the vulnerable and marginalized
Building bridges with local communities
Nurturing servant leaders and responsible citizens
“Bethlehem Bible College is the only institution of its kind in the Holy Land that trains Palestinians in Arabic for a BA in Biblical Studies and Christian Education, and MA in Christian Leadership and Ministry, Mass Media, Tour Guiding, and Hebrew Language. These programs enable students in this distressed area to have rigorous theological training within the Holy Land, helping to decrease “brain drain,” which diminishes future Christian leadership in the church and broader society.”
On behalf of the World Evangelical Alliance, Secretary General Bishop Efraim Tendero offers the following prayer amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Our Almighty Father God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, as Your children living in every corner of the world we come before You today to intercede for our nations, almost all of which are currently affected or under threat of the COVID-19. We praise You that You neither slumber nor sleep and You are watching over our lands and our peoples, especially in perilous times such as these.
Our help comes from You. We cry out for Your mercy and protection against this virus. We declare that You alone are our refuge—our place of safety. We pray that You protect our peoples from this deadly disease and rescue our lands from this dangerous trap.
Grant our governments and the various national and local leaders wisdom and understanding as they establish and implement guidelines, measures, and strategies in fighting against COVID-19.
Enable our health officials and medical personnel with Your strength and power as they attend to the sick and vulnerable, and allow this pandemic to pass quickly. Lead the medical scientists around the world who are working double-time to find the antidote to COVID-19.
In these dangerous times, grant us Your grace and peace to stay calm and to overcome fear, because the spirit of fear does not come from You. Instead You have given us faith, hope, and love. You have given us power and a sound mind. Your Word says that You will keep in perfect peace those whose eyes are fixed on You.
Help us to reflect the image of Jesus Christ in caring for the less affluent who could hardly afford to buy for their daily need and are left vulnerable as more affluent people buy stores empty. Move us to selflessly extend comfort and help to the isolated and lonely, just as we receive comfort from You in times of difficulty.
Finally, we pray that in the midst of this pandemic, You would unite us in love, bind our nations in peace, and bring hope and healing to our lands with Your grace and Your power. In the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we pray, AMEN.
Bishop Efraim Tendero
Bishop Efraim Tendero, General Secretary of the World Evangelical Alliance and one of the founding fathers of the Lausanne/WEA Creation Care Network, has offered this prayer on behalf of the world evangelical community and indeed all of human society.
I once heard someone say, that daily prayer and scripture is as important for a new mother, as milk is to a baby. I knew it would bring much-needed life and nourishment to my tired being. Life with two little ones has been quite a shock to the system, to say the least. No antenatal course quite prepares you for the requirement of such a total sacrifice of your body and self. The vulnerability, pressure to avoid mistakes and harassment of expectations is often overwhelming as I would fret over my attempts to “sort my life out”, portray an appearance of success, pursue professional dreams, grapple endless to-do lists, toddler-going-teen tantrums and navigate commitments to my family. In a season where I didn’t have the time for many words, I longed for a tangible assurance of God’s presence. But carving out time for myself to shower or eat, let alone have quiet times has felt quite impossible. Daily brain fog becomes the norm on better days or sleeps deprived migraines on others. At times I even struggled to string thoughts together talking to friends.
How do we nurture our souls in a secular world? Historically, Christians have responded in two very contrasting ways:
Nurturing the Soul Through Asceticism The first approach, popular among some early Christians, was to retreat to the desert thinking they could escape temptation and find holiness through asceticism. By the fourth century CE many Christians were living as hermits and monks in monasteries out in the desert. A fifth century monk, Simeon, took this to extremes. To get away from the hordes of disciples and onlookers who came to visit him, attracted by his already extreme self-denying lifestyle, he climbed a pillar and lived there. He once survived 40 days without eating or drinking anything, which made him even more popular. He spent the rest of his life on a succession of ever higher pillars, to try and get away from the crowds who continued to visit him. Food and water were delivered by village boys climbing up his pillar. After he died, scores of others tried to imitate Simeon, and became known as Stylites from the Greek word for pillar, “style”. The problem is that we can never escape from temptation and sin, least of all retreating from the world into the desert. Jesus was himself tempted by Satan in the desert.