Church in Chains Meets Church of Ireland Council for Mission
The Director of Church in Chains, David Turner, recently gave a presentation on its work to the Church of Ireland Council for Mission. Church in Chains (CiC) is an Irish charity devoted to raising awareness of the issue of Christian persecution around the world and working to alleviate it.
Mr Turner explained that the group began in the mid–1970s as a response to the persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union, where many were sent to the gulags simply for practising their faith. ‘With the coming of glasnost and religious freedom in Russia,’ he said, ‘the group expanded its horizons amid a growing awareness that the persecution of Christians was actually a worldwide phenomenon.’
CiC began a quarterly magazine started in 1986 through which it continues to document the suffering of Christians in countries such as China, Egypt, Eritrea, India, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Syria, Turkey and Uzbekistan.
Mr Turner went on to explain that Church in Chains also advocates for justice. It engages with embassies in Dublin on behalf of individual victims of persecution or entire Christian communities. He added that CiC actively supports victims of persecution by sending aid via international partners to families of prisoners; to Christian victims of violent attacks and to Christian refugees who have suffered targeted violence. It also provides Bibles and Christian literature in countries where they cannot otherwise be obtained.
Looking to the future, Mr Turner said that in 2017, Church in Chains plans to promote its Lent Prayer Project, encouraging Christians in Ireland to pray for one Christian prisoner each week during Lent (the 2016 project focused prayer on prisoners in China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan and Uzbekistan). It also plans to issue a new edition of its Global Guide booklet – giving an overview of each of the over 60 countries where Christians face persecution.
The Rev Patrick Burke, Honorary Secretary of the Council for Mission, said the Council looks forward to working with Church in Chains more closely in the future. ‘It is extremely heartening,’ he said, ‘to see a home–grown Irish organisation doing such stellar work on an issue which should be so close to the hearts of all Irish Christians.’
For further details on Church in Chains, contact David Turner at PO Box 10447, Glenageary, Co. Dublin or visit their website at www.churchinchains.ie
This article was first published in the Church of Ireland Gazette.
Photo caption: The Revd Patrick Burke and the Revd Andrew Quill (Council for Mission) with Mr David Turner, Church in Chains.