How Do I Help?

If you peer beyond the typical evening newscast, newspaper headlines, and Internet searches, it doesn’t take you long to find out that there is a massacre going on – a massacre of Christians.

Particularly in the turbulent world that consists of portions of Syria and Iraq and being reforged under the name ISIS, Christians are being dislocated.  They are being forced to convert to Islam, or pay an arbitrary tax (the dhimma) to remain Christians in a hostile, Islamic society (without any real guarantee of safety), leave, or face summary execution.  As many who can are leaving.  On their way out, they are being robbed.  They flee to areas of refuge and sanctuary nearby, with no real guarantee that these sanctuaries themselves won’t be overwhelmed by militant Muslims demanding apostasy, death, or relocation.  

There is much talk of Christians supporting our fellow Christians in this particularly ominous time.  But most of the talk I hear of has to do with prayer.  And while prayer is vital and important, it is not the end of what we can and should do to assist our brothers and sisters in the faith.  There were undoubtedly prayers for the preservation of Christians in the midst of the famine discussed at the end of Acts 11, but there was also the resolution to provide physical assistance.

So this week I went to our denominational web site to figure out what mechanisms were in place to provide physical assistance to these distant members of the body of Christ.  I found an encouraging note from our denominational president, including a variety of materials ,such as reprints of this encouraging note suitable for printing off and including in our worship bulletins.  There are also links to articles on the topic of Christian persecution and even an audio file discussing the importance of unity in the face of persecution and how our mass media is ignoring this situation.

I couldn’t find a word on what to do beyond prayer.  And while we can and will and do pray for these people, I can’t help but think that there is more to be done.  If anyone can find a place on our Synodical website where directions for how to send physical aid are provided, please let me know.  From what I can tell, there are no such directions, which leads me to believe that as a denominational body, we are not formally asking our members to help the Christians being displaced in Iraq.  

I personally don’t feel that this is acceptable.

So I began searching.

First, I checked to see if there is a Lutheran presence in Iraq or in the area surrounding Mosul.  If there is, I couldn’t find it.

So I figured out what branch of Christianity the Christians in that area belong to.  They are part of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, one of the oldest branches of Christianity.  I have no doubt that there likely theological differences between Lutherans and Syrian Orthodox Christians.  But I trust that those differences are eclipsed by the bonds we share in Jesus Christ, bonds that dictate that we should take seriously promptings to help them.  If my denominational president can ask that we pray for them as brothers and sisters in the faith, then I trust that they are well within the historic pale of what it means to be Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, and therefore the targets of a very active (though defeated) enemy in Satan, who uses many means to vent his spleen against God’s people.  

I found the Western diocese for the Syriac Orthodox Church in America and sent them an e-mail, asking how they were organizing help.  They are indeed organizing support and assistance for their members in distress.  I was given this address and contact information:

 

417 E. Fairmount Rd., Burbank, CA 91501
Tel: 818-845-5089
 

When I called to verify this information, I was told to make checks payable to the Archdiocese of the Western United States.  Note what the money is to be used for, and they will convey the monies through their churches in Iraq. 

If you feel led to do so, send a check to the above address for the assistance of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  If you have other information on how to provide physical support, please feel free to comment and share that information as well!

 

 

 

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3 Responses to “How Do I Help?”

  1. SB mom Says:

    Thank you for this post! My husband and I were just recently looking for ways to send financial support to the Syrian Christians and this will enable us to get started right away while we search out other potential avenues. No need to post this – I just wanted to thank you for your leg work!

  2. More Ways to Help | Living Apologetics Says:

    […] week ago I blogged about how to get monetary donations to the suffering Christians in Iraq and Syria who […]

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