Revd Nicholas Mercer is a trustee of the human rights charity Redress, which supports torture victims across the world.
He has written both a prayer (excerpts below) and a sermon which may be used on the day itself, Wednesday, June 26, or the Sundays before or after that date.
Explaining how he began working with Redress, Revd Nicholas said:
“The Psalmist reminds us in the Old Testament that “God hears the groan of the prisoners” (Psalm 102:20).
“It is important that each year on 26 June we too hear the groans of those who are being tortured or continue to suffer from the effects of torture.
“Before ordination, I was a solicitor and served for twenty years as a lawyer in the Army with the Army Legal Services.
“I was the Commander Legal (senior lawyer) with the HQ 1st (UK) Armoured Division during the Iraq War 2003 and came across the mistreatment of Prisoners of War by Army interrogators and made a formal complaint to the Chain of Command, which I pursued,” Revd Nicholas said.
“After leaving the Army in 2011, I was ordained and joined Redress as a trustee.
“In 2014, torture and ill-treatment were recorded in 141 countries, or three-quarters of the world. “Nelson Mandela said: “The way that a society treats its prisoners is one of the sharpest reflections of its character”. The UK needs to bear these words in mind.
“Redress works for victims of torture throughout the world and has been recently involved in working to secure diplomatic status for Nazanin Zaghari- Ratcliffe in Iran. It not only acts for victims of torture, but also makes submissions to International bodies such as the UN and is involved in training across the globe.
“Above all, we need to raise national awareness of the prevalence of torture across the world, including the UK, and seek to bring it to an end,” Revd Nicholas said.
Passages from Revd Nicholas' special prayer:
On this International Day for the victims of torture, we pray for justice and healing for people throughout the world who have been tortured. We pray for people who inflict torture, for they too are tormented. We pray for ourselves, confessing all we have done or left undone that may have contributed to the suffering of our brothers and sisters. We pray in the name of the One who was tortured, died, and rose to save us all.
Lord you became the suffering servant, despised and rejected;
You were beaten and flogged and your body was broken for us.
Grant that your love will shine even in the worst of the torture chambers.
Look with pity on those who suffer now the barbarity of the torturer;
those who endure physical and mental suffering to break their will.
Receive into your loving arms those who will die before morning.
Loving Lord, you know the names of each one, bring them peace and comfort in the
midst of their fear and suffering and give them healing of mind, body and spirit.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
God of justice and mercy, help us remember this day that you have created each and every person with dignity and worth
We pray for every life that has been touched by torture, both those tortured and the torturers. We pray for restoration and peace
We pray for fortitude in the face of fear and that we might do what is right and just. We pray for courage to speak out
We pray for governments and persons who seek to prevent torture and who support survivors of torture. We pray that we too may play our part in ending torture
We pray for strength and steadfastness in the work of repairing the world. In all things may we honour you and the dignity of each person. Amen.
For more information and resources go to: https://redress.org/get-involved/26-june-campaign/