By ACNS staff
Leaders of the International Anglican Women's Network have called on women around the Anglican Communion to do what they can to help the 200+ girls kidnapped in Nigeria by terrorist group Boko Haram.
IAWN Steering Group convener Ann Skamp has written to members encouraging them not to forget the girls some of whom, the media is reporting, have been forced to marry by their captors.
"Three weeks ago now, over 200 girls were kidnapped from their school in the northern Nigerian city of Borno. As we continue to keep the girls, their families and communities in our prayers please consider what we can do to support them," she said.
Mrs Skamp suggested that Anglican/Episcopalian women could sign an online petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/over-200-girls-are-missing-in-nigeria-so-why-doesn-t-anybody-care-234girls
She added: "Why not contact your local political representatives to ask that your government express our deepest concern for the girls to the government of Nigeria and in other international forums?
"Please request that your parish, diocese and province include prayers for the girls and their families at worship this Sunday 11 May, which also is celebrated as Mothers' Day in many of our communities."
To this end, Mrs Skamp offered a prayer written by Elizabeth Smith from the Diocese of Perth, Anglican Church of Australia.
Prayer for the kidnapped Nigerian girls May 2014
O God, we cry out to you
for the lives and the freedom
of the 276 kidnapped girls in Nigeria.
In their time of danger and fear,
pour out your strong Spirit for them.
Make a way home for them in safety.
Make a way back for them
to the education that will lift them up.
Hold them in the knowledge
that they are not captive slaves,
they are not purchased brides,
but they are your beloved daughters,
and precious in your sight.
Change the hearts and minds of their kidnappers
and of all who choose violence against women and girls.
Cast down the mighty from their seat,
and lift up the humble and meek,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The 200+ girls were taken from a school in the northern state of Borno on 14 April. Their whereabouts remain unknown and there is mounting anger and frustration in Nigeria at the failure of the government to find them.