'Orange Sunday' re-energizes campaign for suffering Christians

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez |

(FOX News/SCREEN SHOT)Living Word Community Church in Dumont, New Jersey hosted an Orange Sunday event to stand in solidarity for Christians facing persecution in the Middle East.

DUMONT, N.J. (Christian Examiner) -- Orange clothes and ribbons are the mark of a campaign intended to create awareness about the suffering of Christians in the Middle East. Efforts by one New Jersey church over the June 1 weekend renewed media attention of the movement and now there are hopes that other churches will follow suit.

The Living Word Community Church in Dumont renewed attention around the worldwide effort over the weekend after congregants participated in "Orange Sunday" which called all members to don the color for Sunday services.

Frank Bolella, pastor of Living Word told Fox News he asked members to participate in the campaign because too few Christians in the United States grasp the gravity of suffering Christians in the Middle East experience.

(FOX News/SCREEN SHOT)Pastor Frank Bolella called on his church to participate in an Orange Sunday and wear orange ribbons or clothes to Sunday services to raise awareness for the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

"Americans need to be aware first of all of what is happening," Bolella said.

"The world needs to hear this and the church needs to become a means of communicating this to the world. I think the church also needs to be in prayer and I think the church should get involved in supporting the ministries that are doing their best to be able to go over and help people," the pastor said.

The Orange campaign was set into motion earlier this year when The Wanderer published an article by writer Rey Flores entitled 'Orange is the New Color of Martyrdom.'

Since publishing the piece, Flores has partnered with the Church on the Hill in Washington, D.C. to draw attention to the cause, Christian Today reported. Together Flores, a Catholic, and Church on the Hill leader Rev. Patrick Mahoney launched the #orangejumpsuit project inspired by Pope Francis' call to action against Christian persecution.

The color orange was chosen to represent the color of the jumpsuits worn by Christians seen executed on videos produced by Islamic State militants. In February, twenty Egyptian Coptic Christians captured in Libya were beheaded on a beach. Ethiopian Christians have also been seen martyred in ISIS videos.

In addition to wearing orange for awareness, one Living Word member is also asking participants to take action online.

"Going out and spreading a post or a message or a video, something short that will catch peoples attention," can help create awareness, Kim Pingul said in the Fox feature. "Also, just calling our local congressman takes 5 min to send an email."

Reaching out to congress can help provide financial assistance for refugees displaced by ISIS according to Lydia O'Leary of Ribbons for Rescue.

The U.S.-based Ribbons for rescue provides various resources for contacting legislators, including how-to videos and contact information as well as other "take action" tools.

"We call on people to wear orange daily," O'Leary told Fox News. "It says 'we're standing with you on this—you're not alone.'"