A message from Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate, to the church regarding recent escalations of violence in the Middle East.
‘Violence shall no more be heard in your land’
With a deep sadness the world has watched the recent escalations of violence in the Middle East. The Rev. Dr. Olav Fyske Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, said in a July 15statement: “We strongly condemn the indiscriminate attacks by Israeli military on the civilian population in Gaza as we absolutely condemn the absurd and immoral firing of rockets by militants from Gaza to populated areas in Israel.” His statement is in keeping with a long-held position from our church, articulated in successive General Synods including the most recent one in 2013.
Since the bombing, scores of innocent men, women and children have died. In Gaza alone, almost 200 Palestinians have died and 1300 have been seriously injured. The Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City (owned and operated by The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem) is exceeding its capacity to meet the humanitarian crisis. In the face of shortages in medicines, fuel and food, Bishop Suheil Dawani has issued an urgent appeal for help. Donations can be made through the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund. Through ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together), we are working with local partners to provide support for those wounded and displaced in this ongoing siege.
I ask for your prayers. Pray for all who have died and all who mourn. Pray for all those injured and those who tend them in the most difficult of circumstances, the hospitals and clinics themselves under the continuing threat of bombing. Pray fervently for a ceasefire, for those living in absolute fear by day and by night. Pray for world leaders who offer counsel in negotiating a settlement to this current crisis and in securing a lasting peace for all Palestinians and Israelis. Pray as Dr. Olav Fyske Tveit has said, that together they may work “to transform the discourse of hatred and revenge…into one that sees the other as neighbour and as equal brother and sister in one God.”
Let us pray in the spirit of the prophet whose words offer abiding hope in the mercy, justice and peace of the Lord.
Violence shall no more be heard in your land,
devastation or destruction within your borders;
you shall call your walls Salvation,
and your gates Praise. (Isaiah 60:18)
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