• EXPOSED stories from around the World

    Posted by Amanda

    23 October, 2013

    In Manila this week, Christians have been holding Jericho walks to symbolically bring down walls of corruption. There is outrage in the PHILIPPINES because US$250 million due to be spent on development projects for the poor has ‘disappeared’.

    Christians have been walking and praying around key government buildings in Manila and the capital, Quezon City. What a mighty prophetic action! In addition, the caravan of marchers has taken a roast pig with them as a symbol of how pork-barreling is responsible for millions going missing.

    In 142 other cities around the country, vigils of prayer and advocacy to expose corruption and its devastating effects on the poor have take place throughout October as part of the global EXPOSED campaign.

     

    Let me tell you some more stories…

     

    In UGANDA, where it is risky to hold gatherings in public there was a four hour Vigil ending at midnight on Tuesday 8th, the eve of Uganda’s 51st independence anniversary. The Vigil brought together many different groups that are calling for integrity in public finances and justice. Holding up candles, the group wanted to show that “we are the light of the world, and our duty is to shine a light on corruption”, says Jackie Asiimwe, one of the organisers.

    The vigil, a mix of poetry, song, reflections and prayer was held under the theme "Making the Next 50, The Best 50". People reflected on Uganda’s motto - "For God and My Country" - in light of the current challenges Uganda faces, including corruption.

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    The bells of St Paul’s Cathedral rang out in the heart of the city of London in the UNITED KINGDOM as people gathered in the portico and on the steps to hold an evening Vigil on Monday 14th.

    Lord Leslie Griffiths, leading churchman and member of the House of Lords, laid down the challenge facing not just government and church but all people: ‘Our job is to see that we overcome evil with good. We expose the evil for what it is and then set our targets for overcoming that evil. I believe that this campaign is part of an orchestrated effort on behalf of good-willed people around the world to see that we have the kind of world that God wants us to live in.’ 

    Christian businessman Ram Gidoomal addressed the crowd of people from across church denominations and civic society: ‘We need new models of ethical business…and ethical business can begin at school, as we encourage budding entrepreneurs to practise compassion and ethics,’ he said.

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    NEPAL has a tiny Christian population (350,000 in a population of 26 million), which in the past has lived quietly, wary of persecution. But in the last two years a growing number of Christians want to contribute to the community and help to take action for integrity in public life. 

    On Saturday this week, 1000 people will attend a Vigil in the capital, Kathmandu, joined by media and civic leaders. It is great to see the favour that Christians have received in the Hindu nation and their prayer is that honesty and integrity will be the accepted standard.

    “It is risky to speak out and the problem of corruption is overwhelming, says Joyce Thong in MALAYSIA, “but I have never seen the church so receptive, so ready to act.” 

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    Women and young people in SOUTH SUDAN are leading the way in activities to expose the impact of corruption. Women have been praying every month since May calling for unity, peace, honesty and stability.

    On the International Day of Peace last month Bishop John Gattek with 200 women and youth, highlighted the key causes of instability and conflict - bribery, greed and lack of transparency.

    Marching, street rallies and dramas creatively explored the role of the Church in overcoming economic injustice and inequality, as the youngest nation on earth nation seeks justice and reconciliation. 

    Government officials, community elders and the area’s United Nations representative were at the events and highlighted the role of the church in building communities of peace.

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    During the EXPOSED week of action more than 50 public events took place around GERMANY. In Duisburg a local church held a vigil every day. Nearby in Wuppertal, the local Micah group had the creative idea to protest publicly against corruption by putting a plastic cow in a big public square to show that in many rural communities cows are the main livelihood and how corruption can take away much needed family income.

    In Leipzig in Eastern Germany, a vigil was held at the historic St Nicholas Church. It was here that Christians gathered weekly for peace prayers during the communist regime. These prayers were very powerful, as they were accompanied by peaceful protest marches with people carrying candles – events which led to the Peaceful Revolution in Germany in 1989. 

    24 years later Christians are lighting candles for people suffering from the injustice of corruption and tax evasion. 

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    In ZAMBIA, there was a large event in Lusaka on Saturday 19th on the doorstep of the Lusaka city civic centre. About 300 pastors in the city brought their members to the vigil. They have targeted some government institutions where corruption is commonly reported and the media reported the event widely.

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    And in preparation for AUSTRALIA hosting the G20 next year, Brisbane church leaders met to pray and plan during the EXPOSED week and held a Vigil in Wilson Reserve overlooking the city.

    The church leaders included the Churches of Christ QLD Director Dean Phelan, Catholic Bishop of Brisbane the Most Rev Joseph Oudeman, Salvation Army (South QLD) Second in Command Major Rick Hoffman, Youth Alive National Director Cameron Bennett, and Uniting Church Moderator the Rev Kaye Ronalds.

    Prior to the prayer vigil, Tim Costello (CEO of World Vision) and Gershon Nimbalker (Advocacy Manager of Baptist World Aid) led a meeting with the church leaders on behalf of Micah Challenge to discuss how they could best use this opportunity to make sure the voices of the global poor are heard at the G20. 

    Micah Challenge Australia’s Shine the Light campaign will seek to ensure that issues of transparency are high on the agenda for consideration by the G20 next year and will seek to channel the voices of more than one million Christians across Australia and around the world into the G20 process.

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    The international stories in this blog have been provided by Amanda Jackson, Campaigns and Policy Manager for Micah Challenge International.