#1093 for broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 28 June 2015.
Each time I visit the Middle East, local church leaders share their deep concern at the drift of Christians from the region.
Visitors come in air-conditioned coaches to take photos of ancient buildings, but the “living stones” – the local Christian communities – are few in number and often ignored.
Christianity is being driven from the place of its birth by religious tensions, lack of employment opportunity, and the influx of Muslim immigrants.
Since the U.S. invasion in 2003, three-quarters of Iraq’s Christians have been displaced or killed. Large numbers are being slaughtered by Islamic State militants.
But the phenomenon is not new. Some 600,000 Christians have left Egypt in the past 30 years. When the Ottomans drove Armenian Christians from Turkey into the Syrian desert a century ago, 13 per cent of Turks were Christian. Now there are almost none.
If you pray, pray today for Christians living in the world’s most difficult places.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.