We invite United Methodists to be in deep prayer for Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq as they are driven from their homes, some herded into isolated encampments where they face death by starvation and thirst.
The armed forces of the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seem determined to wipe out many small, ancient communities in the northern region of Iraq. Efforts at humanitarian relief are being stymied by military operations and the lack of a strong national government.
We express our solidarity with those who are suffering, and surround with love and sympathy the families of hundreds killed. We pledge to provide relief if avenues for action are possible. We appeal to the United Nations and national governments to come to the rescue of thousands trapped on a mountain side without any means of sustenance.
We join our voices to those of leaders of the World Council of Churches in asking U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to “marshal all available resources to protect the people of Iraq in this hour.” We agree with the WCC assertions that when nations are unable to protect their citizens that “responsibility is taken up by international bodies and their member states.”
As United Methodists, the protection and extension of human rights — including free expression of religion — are among our mission priorities. We call upon all Methodists worldwide to join in prayer for those under oppression in Iraq and to stand ready with basic relief measures when such opportunities are possible.
In mission and ministry together,
Bishop Hope Morgan Ward
President, United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries
General Secretary, United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries
For the past several months, UMCOR has been working with a partner in Northern Iraq who has been providing food and other assistance to internally displaced people who have fled from the violence caused by the Islamic State. As this conflict continues, UMCOR will continue to explore opportunities for creative partnership with organizations that are seeking to alleviate suffering without regard to the race or religion of the beneficiaries. Your gift toInternational Disaster Response, Advance #982450, empowers UMCOR to respond to this and other natural and human-caused disasters.