In Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria, 20 million people are living on the brink of famine, the World Council of Churches, World Evangelical Alliance and All Africa Conference of Churches say.
Together, these organizations have issued a call for a day of prayer that invites Christians around the world to “stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers” experiencing famine and “to support them to realize a future free of extreme poverty, hunger and violence.”
The second annual Global Day of Prayer to End Famine will take place June 10.
The Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) and its members is one of the organizations joining and promoting the day of prayer. The CFGB is a partnership made up of 13 churches and church-based agencies, including the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), the relief and development agency of the Anglican Church of Canada.
PWRDF will join in the day of prayer as part of its East African Appeal. Through its memberships with CFGB and ACT Alliance, PWRDF has given $65,000 for relief work in South Sudan, $32,000 in Nigeria and $30,000 in Somalia.
In a May 1 letter, the coalition of groups leading the call highlight the widespread problem of famine and related issues—displacement, conflict and drought.
According to the letter from the World Council of Churches, All Africa Conference of Churches and World Evangelical Alliance, the Global Day of Prayer to End Famine is meant to “promote prayer, reflection and action” by providing information about famine and suggestions about ways to help. It is also meant to raise awareness about the impacts of famine, especially on children and families, and “address its root causes.”
A fact sheet included with the letter notes that the majority of hungry and malnourished people live in countries affected by conflict (489 million out of 815 million people). Conflict gives rise to a host of problems affecting food security, including blocked access to food and people forced to flee their homes and give up their livelihoods. Children are among the most vulnerable in food crises, as malnourishment can stunt their development.
The ecumenical day of prayer will connect organizations, church-based and otherwise, that are “currently working to bring immediate relief and positive long-term change so children and families can live out God’s aspiration for a dignified, peaceful and violence-free future,” and help communities “uphold each other in prayer and support, by sharing experiences, challenges and solutions,” says the letter.
“Prayer is an important way Canadian Christians can stand in solidarity with their sisters and brothers around the world who do not get enough to eat,” Foodgrains Bank executive director Jim Cornelius said in a press release. “Prayers of solidarity rooted in our hearts and minds lead to action as we seek to live out the teaching and example of Jesus.”
The first Global Day of Prayer to End Famine took place in 2017 and was endorsed by 120 organizations, the letter says.
According to the letter, the 2017 event “played a critical role in raising awareness” and “was a strong contribution to mobilizing greater action across the world which led to famine being averted and/or rolled back in the short-term.”
Resources from the CFGB include a hymn for famine relief as well as prayers, music and Scripture suggestions.