The World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia encouraged the Council’s member churches to pray for all those suffering as a result of the Middle East crisis…
The World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia encouraged the Council’s member churches to pray for all those suffering as a result of the Middle East crisis, to support the appeals for emergency aid and to speak out for justice among the states and peoples in the region.
In a pastoral letter sent today to WCC member churches in Europe, North America and the Middle East, Kobia encouraged them to join before God “in lamenting the loss of life and destruction of homes and livelihoods”, and to pray “for the safety and well-being of all communities in the Middle East – Muslim, Christian, and Jewish”.
The letter also reminds churches of the need to support the appeals for emergency aid coordinated by WCC-related Action by Churches Together (ACT) International to help those “uprooted by the attacks on Lebanon”, and those living “under collective punishment, incursions and siege” in Gaza.
Echoing calls from the churches in the region, Kobia urged the Council’s member churches to speak out on behalf of the churches of the Middle East addressing particularly the public and governments of those countries most directly involved in the region – the United States, the European Union and Russia – as well as Israel.
Churches in those countries should advocate for immediate ceasefires and protection of civilians, release or trial under due process of law of all those in detention as well as “multilateral implementation of long-delayed UN Security Council resolutions”, including the end to the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories “that is the vortex of the region’s violent storms”.
Those measures, together with “support for negotiations on equitable terms” and “the deployment of a multinational force capable of keeping peace” are some of the “alternatives to the violence in Lebanon, Israel and Gaza” which are within the grasp of the international community, Kobia affirms.
Prime Minister of Lebanon thanks the WCC
“We do know the continuous efforts that the WCC has been exerting for the last three decades towards Christian-Muslim dialogue and the good care and support the WCC gave to the stability of human relations, justice and balance of power in the world”, said the Lebanese Prime Minister Mr Fouad As-Sanioura in a 18 July letter to the WCC general secretary expressing appreciation for the latest WCC statement on the crisis.
On 13 July Kobia had issued a statement strongly urging “all parties to immediately stop and reverse the escalation of the conflict and all use of the rhetoric of war”, and insisting “fully and firmly on the need for all parties to protect civilians – Lebanese, Israeli and Palestinian – in accordance with international law”.