Reminiscere 2016

Intercession for oppressed and persecuted Christians - Focus: Eritrea

For months now, the press in Germany and the whole of Europe has headlined the many refugees crossing the Mediterranean in crowded boats, or coming on foot through muddy fields on the Balkans. Young men, families, mothers travelling alone with children - seeking refuge from war and persecution. At present, a life lived in safety and with dignity seems a distant dream for many people, and so they flee from the daily terror, the battles and reprisals from Aleppo or Kabul to the supposed safety of Europe.

A relatively large number of these refugees come from Eritrea. Often they are young men escaping from the totalitarian regime and the unlimited duration of compulsory military service, which all are forced to do. The country is closed to the outside world and has isolated itself internationally. It is often hard to gain any reliable information at all. Religious freedom is also affected, as is so often the case in countries in which fundamental human rights are greatly restricted or violated. While the Eritrean constitution officially recognises Sunni Islam, as well as the Eritrean Orthodox Church, the Lutheran and the Roman Catholic Churches, the very distinction between officially recognised and non-recognised faith communities is problematic in terms of human rights. Members of religious minorities, including many Christian sisters and brothers, also suffer under the regime and the restrictions of personal freedom.

With our intercessory prayers on Reminiscere Sunday in 2016 we want to remember the people in Eritrea and all brothers and sisters who are persecuted or discriminated against, harassed or oppressed. We bring them before God - trusting that God will see their great need and save them from distress. The Lenten period in the church year regularly offers us a specific occasion to do this. It turns our attention to the One who so loved the world that he took its suffering upon himself, so that all may have life.

Believing and trusting in Jesus Christ, let us pray for oppressed people all over the world.

Heinrich Bedford-Strohm
Chair of the Council of the
Evangelical Church in Germany



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