Wednesday, October 10
Fire, raging fire . . . it kills, destroys, and can change lives forever. For citizens of the Russian Federation, the summer of 2010 saw temperatures that hovered around 105 degrees and the continuation of a long drought. When the fires began, they seemed unstoppable. Authorities reported the scale: over 30,000 wildfires, 180 villages and cities affected, almost 3,000 houses burned, smoke plumes rising to 38,000 feet above ground. For weeks on end, rural and city dwellers suffered in the choking smoke of fires.
Like the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Russian Orthodox Church is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global humanitarian and development organization related to the World Council of Churches. So when the Russian church appealed for emergency assistance, our Presbyterian Disaster Assistance shared resources to help stem the human suffering.
In the early stages, the Orthodox Church responded with trucks filled with food, water, medicine, clothing, footwear, bedding, and firefighting equipment. From the national church, through dioceses and parishes, faithful people responded. When the fires were out and recovery and resettlement were under way, the response shifted to longer term needs: furniture, household appliances, kitchen and tableware, even support to purchase milk cows, all for people trying to rebuild their lives.
Decades of interaction have tied Presbyterians to Christians in Russia. In recent years, we have moved past the stereotypes formed in the midst of the Cold War. Now, we see each other clearly as brothers and sisters in Christ. So when crisis erupts, we have the faith and the trust that can "bear fruit in every good work'' as we grow in the knowledge of God together.
- Gary Payton, PC(USA) regional liaison for Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, and Armenia
Let us join in prayer for:
Russian Orthodox Church: Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Ms. Margarita Nelyubova, coordinator, Russian Roundtable * Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists of the Russian Federation: Rev. Alexei Smirnov, president, Rev. Vitaly Vlasenko, director, external church relations * Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia and Other States: Archbishop August Kruze * Interchurch Partnership: Archpriest Vladimir Fedorov and Ms. Marina Shishova
Let us pray
Creator God, we give thanks that you have bound us together as your children from many lands to send and receive your infinite love. Be with your churches in Russia as they continue to renew themselves for your glory. In Christ. Amen.