St John the Baptist Parish Church

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Justice and Mercy Service

“And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

These words from the prophet Micah were the subject of a special service led by the Pathfinders on Sunday 23 September in the evening. The service focussed on God’s desire for justice and mercy in our world and especially in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).

At the start of the year the PCC agreed that as part of our ‘Vision’ priorities for 2012, we would help raise awareness about issues of injustice in Israel and the OPT that require our prayers and actions. This service was the culmination of the work that the Pathfinders have been doing in learning about these issues including the separation wall and the policy of house demolitions.

Right from the time we first started discussing these issues (back in February this year) the Pathfinders were keen to share what they were learning with the whole church. Well, maybe it wasn’t quite the whole church, but over 80 people packed into the church hall for the service! The Pathfinders shared what they had learnt through images, music, acting and dialogue. They also made lots of homemade cakes which they served to everyone who came along! We enjoyed music from the worship band Memories of Dawn and GLorEE.

We were blessed with a wonderful guest speaker. Beth Price who is the niece of Gini Cope, a member of our congregation, talked to us about her experiences of working in the Jalazone Refugee Camp, just north of Ramallah. Beth told us how this trip, her first to this part of the world, had opened her eyes up to the injustice under which the Palestinian people were living. However, she also realised that the children she was working with had the same desires and aspirations of children in the UK. Beth’s desire is to return to the region and spend more time with the people.

I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the service – too many to list here. I would also like to thank all those who came to the service and, in so doing, showed their support to both the Church's vision and the young people of St John's.

Amongst all the positive comments we received, one person said to me sadly that the situation in Israel and the OPT will never change. Well as Jesus said "What is impossible with men is possible with God." (Luke 18:27). So whilst we all seek ways in which we can offer practical help or raise awareness of the situation, let us not forget to pray to God that justice and mercy will one day be achieved for all His children.

Tracy Perrett

Jill Pope writes:  I should like to congratulate all those who participated in any way in the " Justice & Mercy " service.  It was both enlightening and thought provoking, well done.