Tuesday, January 15, 2008

East African Religious Leaders Pray for Peace in Kenya

The death toll in Kenya now stands at 600. Opposition leaders have called for continued protest of the election results. Religious leaders throughout Kenya are now calling for a mediated solution and not confrontation. Anglican and Catholic leaders are standing shoulder to shoulder in their stance against further violence.

Catholic nuns, members of the Association of Sisterhoods, have called on people to consider the humanitarian catastrophe that will ensue if the present course of action continues. They have especially asked people to pray and consider how their actions will impact women, children and the poor.

The sisters have called on the Opposition to seek justice not in the streets but in the courts. To that end, Kofi Annan and a number of African statesmen are expected to arrive in Kenya to negotiate a peace.

The Catholic international peace movement, Pax Christi has expressed its concern over developments in Kenya. The organization expressed its sadness over the loss of life, the displacement of peoples and the upheaval of a nation that had been a model of democracy for Africa. Pax Christi also called for international negotiations and an honest acknowledgment of ethnic strife in Kenya.

In an act of Catholic solidarity with the people of Kenya the Catholic religious leaders of Tanzania, Ethiopia and Eritrea are praying for peace in Kenya. From Dar es Salaam to Addis Ababa to Asmara Catholics are praying for peace. Episcopal leaders in the surrounding nations are also joining other Christians in praying for peace in Kenya.

This is not some abstract or geo-political gesture. Kenya has been the center of many conferences for the participating religious leaders. They know and love Kenya and describe the people of Kenya as welcoming and generous. The sadness they feel is real.

So tonight leaders from throughout Africa will begin to arrive in Nairobi. Their task will be daunting and necessary to help both sides view compromise as problem-solving and not losing. Let us join with the leaders of East Africa in praying for their success in softening hearts, opening eyes and making it possible for the beginning of healing to take place in Kenya.

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