Jude Oliver, a member of St Andrew’s Church in Caversham, was present
when the church welcomed Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s special ambassador, the Revd Stuart Windsor on Tuesday, March 7. Here she shares what she learnt that evening:
Hebrews 13:3: “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”
The Revd Stuart Windsor works for Christian Solidarity Worldwide, visiting recently 25 of the estimated 60 countries where there are violations of religious liberties. He meets high governmental individuals.
During the evening, he highlighted, with some graphic images, four of the worst countries, where many face intimidation, arrest, imprisonment, torture and even death because of their faith.
Iran: Many members of the country’s ethnic and religious minorities are currently on death row, some for apostasy.
China: It says in its constitution that citizens “enjoy freedom of religious belief” but the cost of practising religion outside the government-sanctioned bodies can include the confiscation and destruction of property, arrest, torture, imprisonment, forced labour and even execution.
North Korea: 20,000 men, women and children are incarcerated in prison camps as slave labour and where they can face execution.
Stuart described the country as “a prison” and he said that the state’s religious persecution has wiped out virtually all religious believers. Christianity, he added, has been described by defectors as “public enemy number one”.
Stuart spoke of a young man who had been born in a camp and had not imagined a world outside.
Pakistan: Due to supposed breaches of the country’s blasphemy laws, many Christians face the death penalty and flee with their families, seeking asylum. One family were at the meeting.
As news bulletins from CSW are overflowing with these harrowing stories of human rights abuses, what can we do?
Stuart encouraged those present that now is the time to speak out and that our churches should become involved, using CSW’s resources, regular prayer groups, individual prayers and letter writing.
CSW can put you in touch with prisoners, governments and ambassadors to write to.
It was an inspirational evening which should spur us not to ignore the plight and suffering of fellow Christians in these 60 countries.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide is a Christian organisation working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.
It is an inter-denominational advocacy and research organisation. It does not engage in proselytising because it conflicts with advocacy, nor is it an aid agency.
CSW also aims to mobilise the general public to pray, protest and provide on behalf of persecuted Christians.
For more details, log on to www.csw.org.uk.