Call to prayer for church in Colombia

Violence amid protests over poverty and inequity; concern over COVID-19 spread

(Photo supplied by IMCOL.)

***Updated, May 7, 2021

This week our siblings in faith in Colombia are asking us for prayers regarding the wave of protests and violence that has broken out across the country. 

Protesters took to the streets on April 28 and called for a national strike on May 5, in protest of a new tax law that would further repress small business and those living in economic insecurity, who are already hardest hit due to the pandemic. Parts of these proposed changes have already been retracted. There are also new healthcare and pension reforms that would make healthcare more expensive and nearly impossible for many people.  

 Yalile Caballero, president of the Colombian Mennonite Church (IMCOL), writes of the violence: "There have been young people killed, policemen injured, places burned, military patrols and house searches in the poorest places raided on the grounds that there are explosives or weapons. It is a time of chaos, uncertainty and much pain. Please keep us in your prayers."
 Justapaz—IMCOL’s peace, justice and nonviolent action arm--has been active in documenting abuses and violence during this time of protest. They write about the situation on the Pacific coast where their work has been centred recently.

"With regard to the churches on the Pacific coast of Nariño, massive displacements continue. To date we have more than 50 families (180 people) that were affected by the fighting between FARC dissidents and paramilitaries in the municipalities of La Tola and El Charco. Two church sisters died in those battles. These are very painful cases. We work in humanitarian aid, documentation, legal advice, psychosocial care and advocacy. In this region, in this year alone, there are more than 5,000 displaced people. We ask for prayers for the healing of the wounds of these families who had to leave their homes and property."
There are many members of the churches in Colombia today marching with the protesters to help ensure a peaceful demand for justice.
Please pray for: 

  1. God’s love to comfort and give strength to all who are suffering because of disease, loss of loved ones and injustice. 
  1. God’s justice to roll down as a mighty stream.  
  2. Iglesia Cristiana Menonita de Colombia (IMCOL) as they seek ways to express their call for nonviolent action and support people who are suffering.

Jeanette Hanson
Director, International Witness
Mennonite Church Canada

Canada-Colombia relations revived
Mennonite Church Canada responds to IMCOL statement against violence