The Liberian Council of Churches yesterday held a one day special ecumenical intercessory prayer services in honor of children in Liberia.
The prayer services conducted on the second Sunday of Advent that fell on December 9, 2012, was held under the theme: ‘Train a child in a way that he should grow’ as enshrined in the book of Proverb 22:6 of the Bible. The prayers, held at the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church on 14th Street, Sinkor, amid huge traditional and visiting congregations, including from children groups, orphanages and disabled homes, UNICEF and the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia, was addressed by Mr. James Gayflor who represented the LCC.
“We share solidarity in worship today for the protection of all children, especially those in vulnerable conditions. Those that poverty and lack of access to basic daily needs have plighted them into unacceptable conditions and ways in livelihoods. Those who roam the streets and have no homes or any family care; those that are marginalized and considered handicapped,” Mr. Gayflor said in a brief remark while giving overview of the day’s occasion.
According to him, despite all human efforts, the rate of abuses and violations remains daunting and the mechanisms to address impunity are yet not in place. “But for the Church, our hope is in the Lord who admonishes us to pray and rely on Him in all, ‘for except He builds the House, the builder builds but in vain,’” he added.
Mr. Gayflor reminded the intercessors that though the United Nations takes the protection of children from all forms of violence as a fundamental right, which the international community has solemnly pledged to safeguard for all children everywhere and at all times, “unfortunately, violence remains a harsh reality for millions of children around the world. Available research leads us to believe that up to 1.5 billion children worldwide endure some form of violence ever year.”
He noted that while the world has seen a growing number of children survive over the past decades, every year millions of children around the world become victims of untold violence. “Many suffer in silence. This is our next challenge – to end the silence, to stop violence against children.”
He urged humanity to make a difference by ending the silence and stop violence against children, end legalized violence against children, prohibit and eliminate corporal punishment in all alternative care and day care settings, eliminate the violation of children’s rights by harmful practices based on traditions, culture, religion or superstitions.
He ended by beseeching the Almighty so that prayers for children may fall on fertile grounds that will germinate and bear good fruits to make the world a better place for children.
Also speaking at the program, Sierra Leone’s Ambassador accredited to Monrovia and Abidjan, Rev. Dr. Marie Jilo Barnett, prayed for the protection of all children irrespective of their physical and mental conditions.
At the end of the prayer services, the newly inducted Secretary General of the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia (IRCL), Rev. St. John York, lit candles on the abuse of children in Liberia and the world over.
The National Muslim Council of Liberia (NMCL) is expected to hold its own intercessory prayer services for children in Liberia on the 15th of this month.