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DIAKONIA World Federation April Prayer Letter
For the first time since World War II, the UN Refugee Agency placed the number of forcibly displaced refugees worldwide at 59.5 million. Even in Biblical times, we read about people who crossed a border for trade or protection, were trafficked across a border, or exiled to another country.
We pray for the protection of those forced to flee, embrace those who have made it safely to our country, and celebrate how our new neighbors have become beacons of hope and renewal in our communities. Together, we have welcomed the stranger in Christ’s name.
Mighty Lord, as you guided the Israelites, through the wilderness,
be a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day
for refugees in search of new hope and new life.
As you brought the Israelites out of bondage to freedom,
bring refugees out of persecution to safety.
As you protected the Israelites through 40 years in the desert,
protect those who languish for years in refugee camps.
Wipe away their tears of sorrow,
that their mourning may give way to joyous hope.
Put an end to warfare and tyranny,
that some may return home without fear of violence.
Open the doors of safer nations,
that some may find new homes in new lands.
Rebuild their lives,
that they might enjoy the fruit of labors in peace.
Revive their hope,
that they might face a future with promise.
Shine your grace upon them,
That they might know your love.
Strengthen their bonds of friendship and family,
That we might serve one another with encouraging love.
Bless our nation with a spirit of openness,
That our communities and country may be renewed and strengthened by newcomers.
And inspire your churches to welcome the stranger,
That together we might build communities of hope where strangers become
neighbors and friends, and brothers and sisters. Amen.
(prepared by Deaconess Diane Kaufmann, and adapted from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, ELCA Refugee Sunday Kit)
Congratulations to Rev (Deac) Emma Matthews and Murray Thompson on the occasion of their wedding on Sunday April 10th.
Two Deacons were on hand to welcome Rev Anne Butler (MoW) as a chaplain to an aged care centre in SA. Rev Deac Cate Baker, is the Coordinating Chaplain at Resthaven Leabrook and Paradise, and Rev Deac Frances Bartlett is the Coordinating Chaplain at Resthaven Murray Bridge.
Bev Fabb reflects on the influence of Deaconess Dr Cath Ritchie on her diaconal ministry in Revive Magazine (WA Synod).
“The woman who has had the most profound impact on my life is Deaconess Dr Cath Ritchie. Born to a farming family in Gippsland, Victoria in 1909, educated in a one teacher rural school, she eventually graduated from the University of Melbourne. Raised in a Scottish Presbyterian family, her Christian faith was always central in her life. In 1937 she responded to a call from the Foreign Missions Department to serve as a teacher missionary in Korea, then under Japanese rule. When Japan entered the war in 1941, all Australian missionaries were recalled from Korea. Cath dreamed of returning once the war was over, but this was not to be. After a time as a youth worker in rural Victoria, riding her bicycle between towns, she was asked to become Principal of Rolland House, the Presbyterian Deaconess and Missionary training college. She remained in this position for 23 years.
Cath insisted that all the women trained at Rolland House were given a theological education equivalent in standard to that given to the men training for ordination. She also insisted that her students got practical experience of ministry, something that the men did not get. Within Rolland House she created a community grounded in spirituality and mutual service. At the time when women attending the Presbyterian Assembly were relegated to the galleries, Principal Ritchie was alone allowed to address the gathering and was a strong advocate for women in ministry. Cath forged links ecumenically and internationally with others called to diaconal ministry. In 1994 the Melbourne College of Divinity awarded her a Doctorate of Sacred Theology in honour of her leadership in theological education, especially for women.
As a young Christian I was inspired by Cath’s keen intellect, her humility in service, her strong advocacy for women, her passion for the mission of the church and her solidarity with the poor and oppressed”.
On 6th March, Rev Deac Emma Matthews was inducted as a Deacon in Nedlands Uniting Church in a bi lingual Mandarin/English service. A very happy multicultural event. May God bless her richly in this new ministry.
For archived news from previous years, click on ‘archived news’ button at top of page.