Christians Worldwide Gear Up to Pray on Darfur Day

People around the world are preparing to pray for Darfur this weekend, remembering the more than 200,000 that have been killed in the genocide and seeking action to stop the violence.

Collective prayers in churches and at official buildings, mass demonstrations, and meetings with legislators will mark the Global Day for Darfur in cities around the world on Sunday.

In New York, a Save Darfur Rally - similar to the one in April that drew 50,000 people to Washington’s National Mall - will take place on Sunday at Central Park.

The National Association of Evangelical will again be among the faith groups represented at the rally.

“People of faith came together in April to tell our elected leaders that we could not turn our backs on the world’s greatest humanitarian crisis,” said the Rev. Richard Cizik, NAE Vice-President for Government Affairs, in a released statement. “The services this weekend will bring us all together in the hopes that the prayers of the people of Darfur will be answered.”

NAE will join other faith leaders, humanitarian and human rights groups to call on world leaders to take action and for immediate deployment of the U.N. peacekeeping force to Darfur.

In the Darfur region of western Sudan, decades of ethnic tensions resulted in all-out violence in 2003 when ethnic minorities clashed with the Arab-dominated Khartoum government to fight for autonomy and a greater share of the region’s resources. More than 200,000 people have been killed in Darfur since 2003 and more than 2 million people displaced.

The World Evangelical Alliance has also called on its members to observe the Global Day for Darfur. Geoff Tunnicliffe, WEA International Director, urged the evangelical Christian community worldwide to show compassion and respond to the crisis by participating in the weeklong events leading up to the global prayer and taking part in the prayer event itself.

In London, Christian Aid along with fellow U.K.-based organizations such as Tearfund and Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) reported that people of different faiths will gather outside the prime minister’s office on Downing Street after an interfaith prayer. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has also written a prayer for the event.

Other Christian organizations taking part in the global prayer for Darfur events include Open Doors, members of Action by Churches Together (ACT), and Caritas.

“We have heard political leaders say ‘never again’ with regard to the conflict in Darfur – we now need the actions that will ensure a peaceful end to this catastrophe,” said Judith Melby, Africa journalist for Christian Aid, in a statement.