A letter from ELCA companion in Thailand, the Church of Christ in Thailand:
“The situation has not improved since April 10 when 24 people were mortally wounded and over 800 injured in clashes between the security forces and the ‘red shirt’ [anti-government] demonstrators. Since then the tension has escalated. An estimated 63,000 people have not been able to return to their places of work in the normally busy center of the city of Bangkok because of the disruptions and baricades. … Other groups have started to take to the streets to demonstrate against the ‘red shirts’ and in support of the government. These have clashed with the red shirt faction and there have been more injuries. Last Thursday [April 22] night several grenages were launched into a crowded area of downtown [near the CCT guest house]. One of these exploded in the mass transit system, killing one more person and injuring many others.
“The rhetoric for and against this group or that group is being ratcheted up – in their talk people often demonise the enemy and white wash those whom they support. We in the Church of Christ in Thailand with many others are despairing over the situation. There seems to be no obvious solution.
“Please continue to pray with us and all people of faith here in Thailand. We wish for peace to return to this country. We are aware however that ‘peace’ without justice and equity would be a bitter pill to swallow for many in our society who have suffered for years from systems of oppression and corruption. We pray therefore for change that benefits the least and the poorest in our society. It is only with that combination that we will ever have lasting peace.
“One positive outcome of the uncertainty of the last few weeks is that churches have been unified in their commitment to prayer. Our moderator, Rev. Virat Koydul, called for our churches in Bangkok together with the Catholic churches and other denominations to gather on the April 25 to prayer for the nation. Over 700 people attended and other events of this is kind are happening throughout the country. Many Christians, in their search for a solution, have turned to the books of the prophets in the Old Testament finding parallels with the nations addressed there with our own country today. One significant point the prophets make is that the faithful are called to repent on behalf of and speak to the nation that has lost its way. Many of us are therefore finding a new understanding of the church’s responsibility to the society in which we live.
“Again may I thank you on behalf of the Church of Christ in Thailand for your concern and continued commitment to our welfare here in Thailand. May we all take assurance from the words of the Apostle Paul that, ‘all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His
Rev. Sayam Muangsak