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LWR Encourages U.S. Lawmakers to Pray for Sudan

by Staff
March 3, 2010
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BALTIMORE, ( -- On Tuesday, March 2, Lutheran World Relief and religious leaders from diverse faith traditions hosted a prayer breakfast in which they encouraged Members of Congress to remember the struggling nation of Sudan when they pray and when they legislate.

The Capitol Hill event was sponsored by Congressman Frank Wolf, a Presbyterian lawmaker from Northern Virginia and co-chair of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. Representative Wolf has repeatedly urged U.S. diplomats and aid programs not to turn their backs on Sudan.

Five years ago, the United States helped broker Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended a 20-year civil war between the north and the south. Part of the incentive for both sides to lay down arms was the promise of national elections and a referendum on national unity -- both of which are slated to occur within the next 12 months -- making 2010 a "make or break" year for peace in Sudan.

Speaking on behalf of LWR, Kirk Betts reminded lawmakers that, "The greatest accompaniment we can offer to Sudan at this time is to play the role of peacemaker. This includes helping to develop capacity within Sudan to achieve peace, dignity and development."

Betts served on LWR's board of directors for 12 years, retiring in 2009 after reaching the end of his term eligibility. He is an active member of St. Luke Lutheran Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, as well as a successful energy attorney in Washington, D.C.

Catholic Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala, who recently hosted LWR staff in a remote corner of Sudan, also sent his words of prayer to LWR for inclusion in the event: "Oh God, grant us interior change with radical healing power ... courage to do what we know we should do, and compassion in dealing with ignorance and cowardice. God bless the Sudan with peace, bless all of us with wisdom and love for our nations."

Kussala is the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio. He is also an outspoken promoter of peace and reconciliation in post-war Sudan.

According to Krista Zimmerman, LWR's International Policy Analyst, "Events like this provide a way for lawmakers and faith communities to focus on those things that bring us together -- our respective commitments to seek justice and to demonstrate our love for the world through prayer and action."

LWR assists refugees from Sudan (and other nations) in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. It also supports the ACT-Caritas Darfur Emergency Response Operation as well as drought relief efforts in southwestern Sudan.

Other religious organizations supporting the prayer breakfast included American Jewish World Service, Islamic Relief, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Association of Evangelicals. The Prayer Breakfast was followed by a meeting with Senator Feingold and staff from Congresswoman Pelosi's office.

WHO IS LWR? Lutheran World Relief, an international nonprofit organization, works to end poverty and injustice by empowering some of the world's most impoverished communities to help themselves. With partners in 35 countries, LWR seeks to promote sustainable development with justice and dignity by helping communities bring about change for healthy, safe and secure lives; engage in Fair Trade; promote peace and reconciliation; and respond to emergencies. LWR is headquartered in Baltimore, Md., and has worked in international development and relief since 1945.

Lutheran World Relief,

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