April 8, 2021
It humbles me the extent to which our Roma friends and colleagues practice hospitality, always laying a table for us with whatever they have. They are among the poorest of the poor, marginalized by a society that feels threatened by an alien culture living in their midst. I don’t use the word alien as a negative, just a reality. They are a people with deep traditions, a strong sense of family and community, their own language, their own music, their own style of dress. They do not wish to be assimilated, but they do wish to live in peace with their neighbors, if it is only possible. Often, should a job be posted, as soon as a Roma man or woman applies, it is not available. The Roma are also subject to violence (pogroms) and blamed for any bad incident that takes place in a community. It is assumed that they will steal what is not nailed down.
Andrey Beskorovaniy is pastor of a Roma church in the city of Kursk. He is also leader of a network of pastors and missionaries engaged in ministry with Roma across Russia. Before the conflict in Donbas, this network included Ukrainians as well. He himself is Baptist, but he does not let denominational differences define the network or his ministry. He crosses boundaries without even noticing them. In normal times, he is constantly on the road to visit Roma communities for evangelizations, installation of new pastors and conflict resolution. In these days of COVID-19, he is at work visiting the struggling Roma families closer to home, carrying a few staples like tea and cooking oil and the love of Christ. He loves his people and he wants them to know the power of transformation and the hope we have in Christ.
Ellen Smith, Regional Liaison for Central and Eastern Europe, Presbyterian Mission Agency World Mission
Morning Psalms 47; 147:12-20
First Reading Ezekiel 37:1-14
Second Reading Acts 3:11-26
Gospel Reading John 15:12-27
Evening Psalms 68; 113
Today’s Focus: International Roma Day
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Maggie Harmon, Presbyterian Foundation
Cheri Harper, Presbyterian Women
Let us pray:
Dear Lord, open our eyes to the alien in our midst, that we may sit together at one table, discovering our commonality in the midst of our differences. We give thanks for the bounty of your love that brings about transformation.