[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has urged Episcopalians to observe the Second Sunday in Advent, December 7, as a day of prayer for those in the Diocese of Liberia and the entire Anglican Church of the Province of West Africa, areas heavily affected by the current Ebola pandemic.
“The Diocese of Liberia was founded by Episcopalians in 1836, and was a diocese of The Episcopal Church until the early 1980s, when it joined the Province of West Africa,” noted Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori. “Today we continue in a covenant relationship of mutual support and fellowship.”
She continued, “Liberia is at the epicenter of the recent Ebola outbreak, and Episcopalians have turned Cuttington University (Suakoku) into a center for response in rural northern Liberia. The Anglican Province of West Africa includes all three nations (Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone) where the pandemic continues to develop. The suffering and death is enormous, the economy is devastated, schools are closed, yet the caring and compassionate response continues.”
The Presiding Bishop concluded, “I ask your prayers for the people of West Africa in the midst of this plague. Please include this in your intentions on the Second Sundayof Advent. With Isaiah, pray for comfort and strength for all God’s children; seek out the builder of straight roads and giver of healing balm for all on this difficult journey. Learn about this crisis, and instead of fear, let your hearts be moved to respond in generosity of spirit and of purse.”
Led by the Most Rev. Dr Daniel Sarfo, Archbishop and Primate, and the Most Rev. Jonathan Hart, Internal Archbishop, the Anglican Church in the Province of West Africa includes the dioceses of Accra (Ghana); Bo (Sierra Leone); Cameroon (Region Missionaire); Cape Coast (Ghana); Dunkwa-on-Offin (Ghana); Freetown (Sierra Leone); Gambia; Guinea; Ho (Ghana); Koforidua (Ghana); Kumasi (Ghana); Liberia; Sekondi (Ghana); Sunyani (Ghana); Tamale (Ghana); and Wiawso (Ghana). More infohere.
Episcopal Church in Liberia and the Dioceses of Bo (Sierra Leone) and Guinea are participating in government-led task forces on all levels of government, and are coordinating activities, sharing information, and providing pastoral care.
Episcopal Migration Ministries is coordinating with its affiliates, the Department of State Bureau for Populations, Refugees and Migration (PRM), and the CDC in sharing information.
Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with the Episcopal Diocese of Liberia and the Anglican Diocese of Bo in Sierra Leone to offer care and support for communities affected by the Ebola outbreak. They are providing critical food, hygiene supplies and protective equipment as well as delivering key health messaging. For more information, visit here. Donate to Episcopal Relief & Development here.
The Liberian Episcopal Community In The United States (LECUSA) recently collected and shipped of container of food and medical items to Liberia, collected from Liberians living in the United States.
What churches are doing
Currently the Global Partnerships Office of the Episcopal Church is compiling a list of churches and congregations in which relief and fundraising work is underway for Liberia and West Africa. The Dioceses of Virginia and Northern California as well as churches in Washington, DC have shared their activities. To present your work, contact the Rev. Ranjit Mathews, Episcopal Church Network Officer for Mission Personnel and Africa, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Collect for the Day of Prayer
O God, our creator and preserver, we cry out to you along with our brothers and sisters in West Africa, especially Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, where so many lives have been lost. We pray that as they continue to live and struggle with the Ebola Virus Disease, you will grant them your grace and mercy that an end to this virus will come soon; and that life and community will be restored. Give us the courage and strength to respond willingly to this great human need. We ask this in the Name of the One who came and gave his life, so that we might live life fully, Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen