Sunday 3 August

It was very entertaining to see the film made by the group that went to Soul Survivor. Once the editing has been finalised we will post the film on YouTube and let you have the link!

We looked further at Acts 10 and thought about how Peter explained the good news of Jesus to Cornelius and his family. We thought about the practical implications of this for ourselves.

Our prayer time focussed on the plight of Christians in Iraq. As a result of that prayer time Andy, Catherine and Alice spent time on Tuesday drafting a letter that you might like to use to write to your MP about this very troubling situation.

You can find out who your MP is using this link. You will also find your MP’s website which may well provide you with an email address. You can either post a letter or send an email, whether you post a letter or email it you must include your postal address so that your MP’s office can ensure that you are in their constituency and are able to respond to you.

Here is a long version of the letter you could use, feel free to adapt it for yourself:

[your name and address]
[your MP’s name and address]
[today’s date]

Dear [Name of your MP]

I am a constituent and concerned about the recent massacres in Iraq and the seeming lack of international intervention.

My particular concerns arise from reports suggesting the following:

1. That the Islamic extremist group IS (Islamic State) have given Christians in Mosul, Iraq, an ultimatum to either: convert to Islam; pay a hefty ‘Jazzier’ tax; leave the city; or be beheaded. When the UK invaded Iraq in 2003 there were 60,000 Christians living in Mosul; there are now none.

2. Eyewitnesses report that IS have been marking the houses of Christians with a ‘N’ to signify that they follow Jesus the Nazarene. These houses are raided, and the personal belongings and jewellery of those marked has been taken, in some cases where they were not able to remove rings from elderly women’s fingers, they chopped their fingers off.

3. There have been mass executions and crucifixions of Christians, Shi’te Muslims and Syrians in various cities including Tikrit, Sadaam Hussein’s hometown. It has been reported that on some occasions, the severed heads of IS’s victims have been paraded through the streets of Raqqa.

4. Those that are internally dispersed are living in horrendous conditions within Iraq, not being offered refuge by any of the neighbouring countries or elsewhere. Many are now displaced within Baghdad, in camps with barely enough water, food or sanitation to survive. The UNHRC has not intervened to establish stable conditions for those internally dispersed and Baghdad airport is closed, offering no escape to those currently trapped in the city. Kidnappings, destruction of churches and other holy sites are on the rise and with so many now living in Baghdad, there is that fear that it is only a matter of time before IS turn their attention there.

5. The death toll from the weeks of conflict between Israel and Gaza as I write this stands at over 1500. In contrast, it is reported that over 1500 people were killed in Iraq on a single day at the end of July.

6. As the world watches the conflict in Israel through the broad media coverage, we have seemingly turned a blind eye to IS running rampant through cities in Iraq, as they face barely any opposition in their mission to wipe out an entire people group.

After the UK’s 8-year involvement in Iraq, it seems impossible to ignore the situation there. I write to ask you to use your influence to:
1. Raise awareness of these growing atrocities in Iraq;
2. Secure humanitarian aid for those who have been displaced;
3. Advocate that the UK offers asylum for the many innocent people on the verge of being massacred in northern Iraq.

I note with gratitude the support that the Bishop of Manchester, the Right Reverend David Walker, has given to the call for the UK government to offer asylum to Iraqi Christians.

I look forward to hearing from you confirming that you will raise these concerns and exert your influence to ensure that the UK Government takes action to help those suffering in Iraq.

Yours sincerely

Or you could write a shorter version, you could write something like this in your own words:

[your name and address]
[your MP’s name and address]
[today’s date]

Dear [Name of your MP]

I write to express my concern about reports of recent massacres in Iraq, the persecution of Christians in the Mosul area and other parts of Iraq, the plight of those who have been displaced as a result of the violence and persecution and the seeming lack of international intervention.

After the UK’s 8 year involvement in Iraq, it seems astonishing for the UK to ignore the current situation.

I write to ask you to use your influence to:

Raise awareness of these growing atrocities in Iraq;

Secure humanitarian aid for those who have been displaced; and

Advocate that the UK offers asylum for the many innocent people on the verge of being massacred in northern Iraq.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

We are grateful to everyone who gave so generously to the collection for Open Doors’ work in Iraq and Embrace Middle East’s work in Gaza – thank you.

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