The importance of the worldwide Church
Persecution: Hostility and ill treatment towards an individual or group of people usually motivated by prejudice.
Reconciliation: To repair a broken relationship
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you” (Jesus)
Many Christians have stood up against persecution. Good examples include Martin Luther King who fought to improve rights for blacks in the US through non-violent campaigns such as speeches, marches and sit ins. Oscar Romero was a priest in El Salvador who campaigned to end the violence and poor treatment of the people by the government. He was murdered whilst holding mass in Church. Both examples were motivated by their Christian faith to try and change things for the better.
Jesus’ death on the cross reconciled the relationship between God and mankind. It was the ultimate sacrifice. Christians are encouraged to forgive those who do wrong against them and then rebuild broken relationships.
Corrymeela in Ireland was established as a place to encourage the rebuilding of relationships between Protestants and Catholics following “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. (See work on Peace & Conflict)
Archbishop Desmond Tutu spent his whole career trying to reconcile the black and white communities in South Africa who were divided after years of discrimation and Apartheid.
LEDCS (Less economically developed countries) are the poorest countries in the world and experience extreme poverty. Poverty may be caused by war, debt, natural disasters, corrupt governments and exploitation.
Many Christians will work hard to try and support those in need. Having faith in God means to put that faith into action. Jesus helped the poor and needy and Christians would seek to follow his example.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan, which includes the key teaching of “Love thy neighbour” emphasises that your neighbour is anyone and everyone. All people should be treated with kindness and compassion.
Many Christians will support or work for charities such as Christian Aid.
Christian Aid is the official relief agency for 41 church denominations in the UK. It was set up in 1945 following the refugee crisis following the end of WW2 with the aim of encouraging sustainable development, stopping poverty and providing emergency relief.
Their stated vision is that “Poverty is an outrage against humanity. It robs people of their dignity, freedom and hope. Christian Aid has a vision – an end to poverty and we believe that vision can become a reality”
Christian Aid will provide food, shelter, water and education.
Their biggest fundraising event takes place during Christian Aid week when envelopes are delivered to all households to collect funds for those in need.