SUFFERING CHURCH ACTION AND AWARENESS WEEK – THIS YEAR’S FOCUS – ONE IN TEN
Around the world One in Ten Christians are facing pressure and persecution, ranging from everyday harassment and discrimination to violent attack. The rise of extremist violence has intensified in many regions in the past year, with a stream of reports of brutal attacks in the Sahel region of Africa as well as the atrocity of the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka that killed around 254 Christians. But we also remember the compassion and bravery of an elderly imam, Abubakar Abdullahi, who received an award in July 2019 recognising his courage in saving the lives of 262 of his Christian neighbours in 2018, when he sheltered them from a Fulani militia raid in northern Nigeria.
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’ – Matthew 25:40
But amid the strife and chaos, as Christians we follow the Prince of Peace who entreats us to take up responsibility for the needs of our brothers and sisters, especially those who are suffering. In His parable of the Last Judgment (Matthew 25:31-46), Christ says there will be a separation of sheep from goats on that Last Day – a separation that will reflect how we have lived out our love for Him though our care and compassion for our Christian family.
There are many ways to show your love for persecuted Christians around the world this Suffering Church Action and Awareness Week. You may wish to commit to praying regularly for a project, a country, or Christians in a particular context of persecution. Every Barnabas Aid magazine includes a Prayer Diary to inform and inspire your prayers each day.
A Sunday service or group meeting
Among the resources that may be helpful for your One in Ten themed service or meeting are our: sermon outline Sheep and Goats, Bible study guide on Matthew 25:31-46 TheKing will reply, overview of Christian persecution One in ten are suffering right now!, suggested hymns and songs, and also our SCAAW encouraging hymn for 2019-2020: Jesus Christ Was Hungry, to the tune of Nöel Nouvelet. Your service could begin on any Sunday that suits your church calendar.
Show your love in a practical way with a church offering
If you wish to give to a particular need, such as helping persecuted converts, your church could make a donation to a specific project. Alternatively, you could give to our General Fund and we will use your gift wherever the need is greatest. This funding enables us to react quickly to emergency situations, and to meet needs that are too sensitive to publicise.
Creative ways to fundraise for our suffering family
You might like to fundraise to help suffering Christians by holding a special event such as a coffee morning at your church, asking members of the congregation to donate cakes and sandwiches.
Composer and Barnabas supporter Richard Rice-Oxley has had the wonderful idea of generously donating two free Christian opera scores, The Jesus Story and Peter – the Rock, that can be used in church or group performances for Barnabas fundraising events, for SCAAW or at another time.The opera scores TheJesus Story and Peter – the Rock are provided free to Barnabas supporters. The Jesus Story is a 24-song multi-style musical journey through the birth, life ministry, death and resurrection of our Lord; while Peter – the Rock is a recently composed 21-song musical for choir, soloists and instrumentalists, with a linking narration. You can access the music scores and read more about Richard Rice-Oxley here.
Raising awareness through social media
Go to our Facebook page: facebook.com/BarnabasFund. Please like our page and share the SCAAW post with your friends and family – ask them to do the same!
Ask your pastor or church leaders to make SCAAW part of your church life.