22nd November is Red Wednesday. The Palace of Westminster will be bathed in red, along with Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, Lambeth Palace, and many churches and cathedrals across the United Kingdom. Last year synagogues and mosques also joined in, for Red Wednesday is set aside as the day we shine a light on all those who are persecuted for their religious belief, and stand up for faith and freedom for all.
The decision for the iconic building in central London to go red on the evening of Wednesday, 22nd November was made jointly by John Bercow MP, the Speaker of the House of Commons and Lord Fowler, Speaker of the House of Lords.
Both Speakers were lobbied by parliamentarians, many of whom had been contacted by constituents inspired by #RedWednesday’s message of religious tolerance.
…At 6pm on 22nd November a solidarity service will take place outside Westminster Cathedral, with talks, witness testimonies, a video message by MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, music and speeches by Coptic Orthodox Bishop Angaelos, Neville Kyrke-Smith, National Director, Aid to the Church in Need (UK) and Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
Throughout the day, a traditional London red bus emblazoned with #RedWednesday slogans will be criss-crossing the capital, stopping at London landmarks.
…On Friday 26th May 2017 militants ordered the pilgrims off the buses – and demanded that they renounce their Christian faith and make the Islamic profession of belief. When the Christians refused they were killed with a single gunshot to the head or throat.
…Their churches desecrated; their loved ones slaughtered – and not to mention the women, girls and young men who have been kidnapped or forced into suicide missions.
…The Eritrean Orthodox Church has been crushed in to submission.After its head Patriarch Abune Antonios was put under house arrest in 2007, for refusing to excommunicate 3,000 members who opposed the government, the state imposed a layman as leader of the Church to ensure its control.
…16-year-old Ismail described how Daesh threatened to kill him if he refused to convert to Islam and that he was beaten for wearing a cross around his neck. One of the few Christians to remain in Qaraqosh during Daesh’s occupation was elderly Iraqi Christian woman Zarefa who stayed to nurse her dying husband. After his death, the extremists found a crucifix and, at gun point, forced her to spit on a cross.
And then there’s Syria, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Burma, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, China, Vietnam, Uzbekistan… Caesar’s sword is brandished over the heads of Christians in more than 150 countries: 80 per cent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world are now against those who follow Jesus Christ.
So please wear red on Red Wednesday 22nd November 2017 to show solidarity with the Church of the Martyrs, for we are united by the ecumenism of blood.