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The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground…” (Genesis 4: 10 NIV)
This was the opening passage of a heartfelt and prophetic pastoral message that the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA) sent to its congregations condemning systemic and structural injustice and lamenting security force excesses in both South Africa and the United States.
“Racism … is an essential part of economic injustice and hierarchical visions that deny that all human beings were created in the image and likeness of God.”
As Americans watched the pandemic move across the globe with startling speed, we thought about our medically vulnerable relatives, our children and the elderly. We planned how to gather food and water, made sure we had medicine in our homes. We washed our hands, didn’t touch our face and if we had to leave the house, we put on a face mask. It was inconvenient, but for most of us, possible.
Amid weeks of global preoccupation with the personal, social, economic, and political impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the plight of the Palestinian people bears a growing, striking resemblance to George Floyd’s plea, “I can’t breathe.” Ever since 1967, the knee of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has been increasingly and relentlessly pressing down on the Palestinians’ neck.
On March 15, the Kenyan government confirmed the first cases of COVID-19 and announced a nationwide ban on large gatherings, along with the closure of schools and nonessential businesses. Two days later, the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) held a press conference to announce the closure of its worship services in adherence with the government directive.
In Hong Kong, new cases of COVID-19 have dwindled to a handful in recent weeks. Concern has now shifted to China’s plan to impose a tough new national security law.
Professor Mary-Anne Plaatjies van Huffel, former Moderator of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA), died in Cape Town, South Africa, on May 19, from post-surgical complications.
For the first time in its 115-year history, the New Wilmington Mission Conference will meet online, July 17–19. Programming will be provided for all ages, and there will be no charge to participate in NWMC 2020.
Throughout these times of quarantine, I have found myself singing more — children’s English and Spanish songs with our 2-year-old son, Leandro. These are songs I remember from high school and university choir, hymns, my mom’s songs or just humming random tunes. If I’m honest, my singing is not always an expression of joy.
Presbyterian mission co-workers who serve 40 countries around the world are either back in the United States or are sheltering in place in their country of service.
But their work has not stopped — far from it.