Last week I received communications from the National Council of Churches in Australia circulating several statements from the World Council of Churches and the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The statements call for prayers for peace in Palestine, Israel and the Holy City of Jerusalem, and I thus encourage our Diocesan community to join in these prayers. And so, together, we:
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.”
For the sake of my family and friends,
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your prosperity. (Psalm 122.6-9)
The World Council of Churches (WCC) has been updating member churches on the unfolding crises in Palestine and Israel via media releases and statements on their news page.
The statements indicate that the World Council of Churches is following developments in Israel and Palestine with increasing distress and sorrow at the rising death toll and the significant number of people injured in the escalating violence.
The WCC acting general secretary The Rev’d Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca “called on Israel to respect the status quo of holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City in the interest of peace and stability” and “for all to refrain from further violence, and from provocative and destabilizing actions.”
Concerned about the safety of Muslim worshippers and Palestinians community members, The Patriarchs and Heads of Jerusalem Churches also released a statement, saying:
“These concerning developments, whether at the Al Aqsa Mosque or in Sheikh Jarrah, violate the sanctity of the people of Jerusalem and of Jerusalem as the City of Peace.
“The actions undermining the safety of worshipers and the dignity of the Palestinians who are subject to eviction are unacceptable.”
“We call upon the International Community and all people of good will to intervene in order to put an end to these provocative actions, as well as to continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
The Latin Patriarchate (the Roman Catholic episcopal see of Jerusalem) has also responded to recent violence in the region stating, in part, that:
“The historic position of the Churches in Jerusalem is clear with regards to our denouncement of any attempt which makes Jerusalem an exclusive city for anyone. This is a city sacred to the three monotheistic religions and, based on international law and relevant UN resolutions, also a city where the Palestinian people, Christians and Muslims, have the same right to build a future based on freedom, equality and peace.
“The authority that controls the city should protect the special character of Jerusalem, called to be the heart of the Abrahamic faiths, a place of prayer and meeting, open to all and where all believers and citizens, of every faith and belonging, can feel at home, protected and guaranteed.
Please join with me in praying for peace in the Holy City of Jerusalem and for an end to the violent clashes currently taking place in Israel and Palestine.
Yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend Dr Phillip Aspinall