Apr 13, 2015

Children's project: Bringing Fun

Today CPT finished the second day of workshops in Bainjan Community Centre as part of the children's project. There were around 24 Syrian Refugee children. We did team building exercises with the children and explored the concept of peace. Over the next few days we will be sharing more photos with you and the children's different ideas and understanding about peace.

Cooperation games and activities with Syrian Refugee children in the Bainjan Community Centre

Apr 9, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers: April 8, 2015

Pray for the displaced Yazidi and Arab residents of Arbat Camp in Iraqi Kurdistan—all of whom have fled great violence and upheavals.

 (Photo by  UNICEF- Belgium)

Apr 8, 2015

Praying for God to forgive ISIS at the Easter Sunrise Service

by Sandra Stevens

He is Risen!

Yesterday the team awoke at 4:00 a.m. to travel to the Chaldean Monastery for an Easter Sunrise Service. When we arrived we went through the usual routine of passing through the security detail, having our bags hand searched and being patted down for weapons. (Men only, since there were no women assigned to the detail.) Stepping across the threshold into the courtyard of the monastery we noticed that it was very quiet. A few people were awake but the day had not yet started.  It would be a work day for most, since Easter and Sundays are not holidays or days off in Kurdistan.

When I first came to the monastery several years ago it was a place for quiet reflection and meditation, a retreat center staffed by two priests and one sister. Now it is a refugee center for the IDPs—internally displaced persons—from Mosul, Qaraqosh and other Christian communities from Iraq and Syria. As the time of the service approached, the people living in the monastery, Christian Kurds and internationals, began to file in and the service, led by Father Jens, began. The service was in Arabic and English, one part, like the Apostle's Creed, read in Arabic, the blessing for Host in English, then the wine, in Arabic. One of the more powerful points during the worship came when the Christians in the church prayed for God to forgive Al-Bagdadi, ISIS, Al-Shabaab and finally those who most recently massacred Christians in Kenya.

As I stood there I realized I still have much to learn about forgiveness.  My heart is still hardened by revenge after spending time in the camps hearing the stories of the Yazidis. How could the people in that church who have suffered so much and lost everything they owned ask God to forgive those who have committed such horror against them? Perhaps I should open my ears and heart to the story of Jesus' passion and learn the lesson of Easter?  Standing shoulder to shoulder with the Christians of Iraq has taught me much about the road I still have yet to travel.
 Happy Easter.... He is Risen indeed!

You can participate in the Iraq team's work with Displaced Christians.

Apr 3, 2015

Shekh Shamu,

Shekh Shamu, Ezidi (Yazidi) community leader tells CPT of the hardships he and his people face being the religious and ethnic minority also among the displaced persons in the Arbat camp

Apr 2, 2015

NGO's work

Two members of CPT attended the UN social cohesion and livelihoods cluster meeting. The meeting was very useful and informative and a good chance for networking and finding out what other NGOs in the region are doing.

Arbat camp was highlighted as an area of high social tension and many NGOs stated that they would like to work there. We will keep you posted in regards to further developments.