Praying for peace in the Holy Land
Uniting Church President Rev Sharon Hollis has urged Uniting Church members to pray for Palestine and Israel
October 11, 2023
Uniting Church in Australia President Rev Sharon Hollis has urged all members of the Uniting Church to join in prayer for a just peace in Israel and Palestine as violence and conflict continues to devastate the region.
“I urge members of the Uniting Church to join in prayer for the people of Palestine and Israel, for those who are grieving and those who are suffering.”
“The Uniting Church has long shared a vision for a just peace in Palestine and Israel, and we are deeply grieved at the fresh outbreak of conflict in this holy part of the world,” said Rev Hollis.
“We lament the violence that has already taken place and the precious lives that have been lost. We join with the World Council of Churches and Christians around the world in calling for an urgent end to hostilities and for a lasting peace to prevail.”
“I urge members of the Uniting Church to join in prayer for the people of Palestine and Israel, for those who are grieving and those who are suffering under the worst consequences of ongoing violence.”
In a statement issued this week, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches Rev Dr Jerry Pillay appealed for an immediate ceasefire amid fears for the imminent safety of people in the region.
“We are deeply concerned about the imminent risks of spiralling conflict between Israel and Palestinian armed groups, and of the inevitably tragic consequences for the people of the region – Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
We encourage members of the Uniting Church to pray for an end to violence and for peace and justice to prevail.
You might like to use this prayer for peace shared by the National Council of Churches this week. It was written by Rose Marie Berger, senior editor of Sojourners magazine, and originally published in Sojourners.
God of Comfort,
send your Spirit to encompass all those whose lives
are torn apart by violence and death in Israel and Palestine.
You are the Advocate of the oppressed
and the One whose eye is on the sparrow.
Let arms reach out in healing, rather than aggression.
Let hearts mourn rather than militarize.
God of Justice,
give strength to those whose long work for a just peace
might seem fruitless now. Strengthen their resolve.
Do not let them feel alone. Show us how to support their work
and bolster their courage. Guide religious leaders to model
unity and reconciliation across lines of division.
Guide political leaders to listen with their hearts as they seek peace and pursue it.
Help all people choose the rigorous path of just peace and disavow violence.
God of Love,
we lift up Palestine and Israel — its people, its land, its creatures.
War is a monster that consumes everything in its path.
Peace is a gift shared at meals of memory with Christians, Muslims, and Jews.
Let us burn incense, not children. Let us break bread, not bodies.
Let us plant olive groves, not cemeteries.
We beg for love and compassion to prevail
on all your holy mountains.
God of Hope,
we lift up the cities of the region: Gaza City and Tel Aviv,
Ramallah and Ashkelon, Deir El Balah and Sderot,
so long divided, yet so filled with life and creativity.
Come again to breathe peace on your peoples
that all may recognize you.
God of Mercy,
even now work on the hearts of combatants
to choose life over death, reconciliation over retaliation,
restoration over destruction. Help us resist antisemitism in all its forms,
especially in our own churches. All people, Israelis and Palestinians,
deserve to live in peace and unafraid, with a right to determine
their future together.
God of the Nations,
let not one more child or elder be sacrificed on altars of political expediency.
Keep safe all people from unjust leaders who would exploit
vulnerability for their own distorted ends.
Give wise discernment to those making decisions to pursue peace.
Provide them insight into fostering well-being, freedom, and thriving for all.
Teach all of us to resolve injustices with righteousness, not rockets.
Guard our hearts against retaliation, and give us hearts for love alone.
Strengthen our faith in you, O God of All Flesh,
even when we don’t have clear answers,
so that we may still offer ourselves non-violently
for the cause of peace. Amen.
Reflections on the Pacific Household of Faith
Reflections on the Pacific Household of FaithA report from the 12th General Assembly of the Pacific Conference of ChurchesBy Rev Lindsay Cullen, Assembly Associate General SecretaryFrom 16-23 November I had the privilege of attending the 12th Assembly of the Pacific Conference of Churches in Noumea, New Caledonia. This meeting involved delegates from around 30 member…
Meet Jethro Buxton
Humans of the Uniting Church Jethro BuxtonThis year, we’re excited to be featuring some of the inspirational people who make up the Uniting Church. Check out the growing hub of stories here. If you know of someone with a great story to tell, contact us and nominate them to be featured. This week we’re catching…
Position vacant Assembly General Secretary
Assembly General Secretary: Applications OpenSubscribe to our newsletterIf you want to get the latest news from the Uniting Church in Australia then subscribe to our weekly newsletter delivered to your inbox.Applications are now open for the Assembly’s next General Secretary. We are seeking a person who is passionate about the national life of the Uniting…
Raise the Age week of action
Raise the Age Support the campaign to Raise the Age of criminal responsibility to keep children in schools and communitiesAustralia imprisons children as young as 10, one of the youngest ages of criminal responsibility in the world. Yet overwhelming evidence from health experts, social workers, Indigenous leaders, legal experts and human rights organisations show that…
Unite to end Gender-Based Violence #16Days
As part of our commitment to the equality and safety of all people, the Uniting Church joins people around the world in marking 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. The global UN Women-led campaign begins on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights…
PIEN Advent guide
Building foundations for justice and peaceAdvent reflections from Ecumenical Accompaniers in Palestine and IsraelThe Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network (PIEN) has released an Advent resource with week-by week reflections from Ecumenical Accompaniers (EA) who have been deployed in Palestine and Israel. The World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI)…
This is my Uniting Church: Townsville Central City Mission
This is my Uniting Church Townsville Central City Mission In this new regular series we’re excited to be telling some stories of our local congregations and communities of faith – the beating heart of the Uniting Church! Find our growing hub of stories here. We’re heading north this week to the provincial city of…
This is my Uniting Church: Uniting Creative
This is my Uniting Church Uniting Creative In this new regular series we’re excited to be telling some stories of our local congregations and communities of faith – the beating heart of the Uniting Church! Find our growing hub of stories here. This week we catch up with Tash Holmes, Music Project Facilitator for…