Call to respond to earthquake tragedy

10.2.2023 | Mission News, Global Mission, Moderator, Church in Society, Church Life, Mission

Following this week’s earthquake that devastated towns and villages in southern Turkey and north west Syria, Presbyterian Moderator, Right Reverend Dr John Kirkpatrick, has written to congregations across Ireland asking them ‘to pray earnestly for all those in the region experiencing such unimaginable suffering’, and for members to consider donating to the relief effort, ‘no matter how small your gift.’ The Church has also sent a donation to its partner church the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon for the practical support for its congregations in the region as an expression of PCI’s solidarity.

The earthquake, which happened in the early hours of Monday morning, has so far claimed the lives of more than 20,000 men, women and children, with many more injured, and tens of thousands of homes destroyed. Writing to ministers while on his Presbytery Tour of Dublin and Munster Dr Kirkpatrick said, “I am keenly aware that many people in our own country are struggling with the increase in cost of living, yet in the face of this unfolding disaster in Turkey and Syria, I would warmly commend this need to you, no matter how small your gift, it is really appreciated…”

“At this time, we also seek to stand in prayerful solidarity with PCI’s partner church in the region, the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, who have a small number of congregations in the affected region. As an expression of our solidarity we are immediately sending a donation for the practical support of these congregations,” Dr Kirkpatrick said.

The Moderator said that direct support could be given through the Disaster Emergency Committee Appeal in support of leading aid charities working in Turkey and Syria, or through Christian Aid Ireland or Tearfund, PCI’s relief and development partners, who are focused primarily on the relief effort through organisations on the ground in north west Syria.

Dr Kirkpatrick also encouraged members across PCI’s 500-plus congregations “to pray earnestly for all those in the region experiencing such unimaginable suffering…” Congregations were asked to pray that:

  • Supplies would reach those in greatest need despite the severe winter and disrupted communications
  • First responders, health workers and all those tackling this emergency would know courage and resilience
  • For the grieving to experience God’s comfort and the injured and traumatised to know healing and
  • For the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon as it supports its congregations in north west Syria.

The Moderator concluded his letter, “My deepest appreciation in anticipation of all your support as together we in PCI play our part in saving lives and restoring hope to the many affected in Turkey and Syria.”

Photo: Some of the devastation caused by the earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria causing immense loss of life and leaving counless thousands homeless (photo credit Christian Aid.)

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