Photo Credit: WHO/Chris Black
Church leaders in West Africa have asked for our prayers as the Ebola virus continues to spread, with 932 reported deaths as we go to press.
Please make use of the prayer we have written – see below.
Ebola is spreading in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and threatening other countries in West Africa.
The people of Ghana are becoming increasingly aware of the epidemic.
The Anglican mission agency Us (formerly USPG) is in contact with our Anglican partners throughout the Church of the Province of West Africa (CPWA), which includes The Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Cameroon and Ghana.
Janette O'Neill, Chief Executive of Us, said: 'This is the worst Ebola outbreak in history. When communities face such terrible suffering the church must be there to combat fear and hopelessness with both love and tangible support.
'The church can also be a source of knowledge to help families understand the situation, and the church can help to make sure governments are fully aware of what is happening at community level.'
From the church in Liberia:
The Most Revd Jonathan Hart, Archbishop of Liberia, reports: ‘The Ebola virus is having a very bad effect on the lives of citizens in Liberia.
'We have joined hands with the council of churches, the government and other organisations in the fight against Ebola. Churches are educating our members to avoid contact with infected people, wash hands with chorine, and not to panic.'
‘Our church has joined the health authorities in calling on our people to wash their hands with chlorine and soap, avoid hands shaking and, as much as possible, refuse unnecessary bodily contact. We encourage the public to keep their environments clean.
‘The government has authorised the closure of all schools. Places of entertainment are operating on a reduced level.
‘We need disposable surgical gloves, chorine and basic hygiene kits to safeguard against Ebola.’
From the church in Sierra Leone:
Ade Renner-Thomas, Chancellor for the Diocese of Freetown, Sierra Leone, writes: ‘Many thanks for your thoughts and prayers.
‘Here in Sierra Leone the government has declared a state of public health emergency. It means there are quarantines in the areas most affected. Movements are restricted in certain areas, and gatherings of more than five people are prohibited.
‘When we have met as a church, there are no more handshakes when we share the peace, etc.
‘We need as much prayer as you can offer.
From the church in Ghana:
The Most Revd Daniel Sarfo, Archbishop of the Internal Province of Ghana, said: ‘People in my country are anxious. They are alert and watching the situation closely. The Anglican Church must act and prepare congregations to face any eventuality.
'There are instances in Ghana where people ran away from relatives who came from neighbouring affected countries. People are scared and anxious. The church needs to respond. We cannot remain idle in this situation.'
Prayers for West Africa:
God of our anguish, we cry to you
For all who wrestle with Ebola.
Grant we pray, peace to the afraid,
Your welcome to the dying and
Your comfort to those living with loss.
And, merciful Father,
bless those many loving hands
That bravely offer care and hope.
By the Revd Canon Edgar Ruddock, Us (formerly USPG)
God of healing,
whose Son healed those who were brought to him.
Hear our prayer for the peoples of West Africa
suffering from the Ebola outbreak.
Inspire and enable your church
to be a source of healing, comfort and hope to those affected,
and an agent for the education
and equipping of communities
to stop the spread of this disease.
For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
By the Revd Tim Harford, Us (formerly USPG)
- For more information contact Us on 020 7921 2200 or email info@weareUs.org.uk
- Us (formerly USPG) is a Christian charity working alongside Anglican churches around the world. Together, we work with local communities to improve health, put children in school, tackle discrimination, give a voice to women, nurture leaders, and much more. We were founded in 1701.