Hundreds Joined in Prayer for Burma in London
13 March 2011: About 200 people came together in a prayer service held for Burma at the Emmanuel Centre, Westminster in London yesterday, calling for an end to the suffering and rights violation in the Southeast Asian country.
The annual event called ‘the Global Day of Prayer for Burma’ , organised by London-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), began around 2pm local time, with an opening devotion led by an eminent Anglican Bishop, the Rt Rev John Freeman Perry.
One of the key speakers, Ben Rogers from Christian Solidirary Worldwide, said of the situation in Burma as ‘the worst of the worst’, also highlighting the ethnic Chin and Kachin in the western and northern parts of Burma being targetted for their religion as well as their ethnicity.
Representives from Burma’s ethnic communities based in the UK including the Chin, Kachin and Rohingya gave an update on the current situation in their respective places facing their peoples in military-ruled Burma.
Chin Christian pastor and preacher, Rev. Shwekey Hoipang, said: “It is encouraging that an increasing number of people join the prayer service for Burma year by year and we have become better informed of the devastating situation in Burma with more presentations and testimonies on different ethnic groups in Burma. We all come together, share together and pray together for our country.”
The Dai-Chin activist from southern part of Chin State also stressed about the ongoing government-ignored food crisis in southern parts of Chin State, caused by the rat-and-bamboo-related natural phenomenon, and various forms of religious repressions including Christian crosses being destroyed and replaced with pagodas and church constructions banned by the military regime.
Steve Gumaer, who co-founded a non-profit charity Partners Relief and Development, shared with the audience a touching yet inspiring account of his experiences in assisting thousands of refugees and displaced people along the Thai-Burma border.
“You can’t just pray for 1.5 million refugees, tell them that Jesus loves them, and then leave them hungry, without clothes, and sick; you have to do something for them to demonstrate the heart and truth behind the prayer.”
The audience was at intervals entertained and encouraged with Christian songs both in English and their native tongues by the Karen, Kachin and Chin communities based in the UK.
One of the Chin participants told Chinland Guardian: “This is the very first time I have come to the service and I am amazed to see that we are praying not only for the peoples in Burma but also for the regime, especially Than Shwe and his wife. We should not hate but love our enemies and pray for them, too.”
The Global Day of Prayer for Burma, which has become an internationally recognised event, first began in 1997, initiated by Christians Concerned for Burma at the request of Burma’s democracy leader, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Van Biak Thang