This Sunday has been designated as a day of prayer for
Zimbabwe. The World Council of Churches, representing Christian denominations
in 110 countries, says it is impossible to overstate the importance of the June
27th election. It says the people of Zimbabwe will be challenged to
find ways to overcome violence.
Giddings ivory is the director of council's Public Witness Program for
Addressing Peace and Affirming Justice. From Geneva, she spoke to VOA English
to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about why the day of prayer for
Zimbabwe was called.
are always reminded to use prayer during times of turmoil and conflict. We want
to call on God to help guide us through these difficult situations. So bringing
all the churches in the world as much as possible together to pray for the
situation so the calm can prevail. It also helps those on the ground to know
that they are not alone, that there are others who are thinking about them
during this time," she says.
what can prayer do that mediation and political pressure have been unable to
do? Giddings Ivory says, "We're sometimes amazed even in our own family
situation when we take the time to say something out loud in prayer or in
conversation. How it makes it more concrete and realistic. It also helps to
reflect back to ourselves what we may want to happen. It helps us to move
forward to do that. And we, those of us who believe that there is a God, who controls
everything…are calling on God to help control the minds and thinking and
actions of those who are participating in this election process."
whether a day of prayer is getting churches involved in politics, she says,
"Jesus was involved in politics. He talked to politicians and tax collectors.
And so we're following the examples of Jesus. And we should not think of any
institution or processes that are beyond our own understanding of where God is
in the world."
general secretary of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Samuel Kobia, is
quoted as saying, "It is impossible to overstate the importance of this
election, its fairness, its outcome and its aftermath." Giddings Ivory says the
council has taken an official position on democratic reforms.
"The World Council of Churches and its
governing body…approved a statement (in February) on the democratic electoral
processes. It referred to the United Nations Millennium Declaration that
commits the nations of the world to promote democracy and strengthen the rule
of law, as well as respect for all internationally recognized human rights and
fundamental freedoms. So the World Council of Churches and its member
denominations are celebrating the fact that more nations around the world are
embracing democracy in order to bring about human rights and freedoms for all
people who may live within a particular country and wanting to protect that as
much as possible."