Bishop Mark Hanson: Pray for Egypt

As the days of civil unrest continue to unfold in Egypt, I call upon the members of our church to pray for an end to the violence and for a peaceful solution that will benefit all people living in Egypt.

I extend my condolences to the families and friends of those killed. I ask your prayers for the quick recovery of those who have been injured. Let us pray that no one else becomes a casualty in the hours and days ahead.

We urge that the universal human rights of all be respected and protected. In the ELCA social statement, For Peace in God's World (1995), this church said, "We expect governments to be accountable to law and people, provide for the participation of all and space for loyal opposition, protect individual and minority rights, and offer processes for conflicts to be resolved without war." Let us also pray and work for the flourishing of all human communities and a just future for those living in Egypt.

Many in the ELCA have inquired about the status of our missionaries. ELCA Chicago-based staff has been in constant communication with the missionary community in Cairo who accompany theEvangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services, the St. Andrew's international congregation and the Sudanese and other refugees served by St. Andrew's Refugee Service. As of this writing, there are 10 ELCA missionaries who are still in Cairo at a safe location. We are exploring a variety of options, including cooperation with the U.S. State Department, to enable these missionaries to temporarily leave the country as soon as feasible. We continue to pray for their safety and the safety of all people living in Egypt.

In God's grace,

The Rev. Mark S. Hanson

Presiding Bishop

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

[Taken with permission from thewebsite of the ELCA. Originally posted Jan. 31, 2011]