Uniting Church echoes calls for immediate ceasefire
The Uniting Church in Australia Assembly joins the World Council of Churches (WCC) in its demands for an immediate ceasefire and the opening of humanitarian corridors in Palestine and Israel.
Photo: A woman walks through Shejaiya, a Gaza neighborhood. Credit: Paul Jeffrey/Life on Earth/WCC
November 15, 2023
“We join the World Council of Churches in demanding an immediate ceasefire, the unconditional and safe release of all hostages and the opening of humanitarian corridors."
Uniting Church President Rev Sharon Hollis has reiterated an appeal made in a statement by the WCC executive committee this week calling for all parties to show respect for human life.
“We join the World Council of Churches in demanding an immediate ceasefire, the unconditional and safe release of all hostages and the opening of humanitarian corridors,” Rev Hollis said. “Likewise, we appeal for all parties to uphold international humanitarian law by ensuring the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, places of worship and holy sites.”
“We too lament the brutal violence and terrible trauma that is taking place and pray with the global church for a just and sustainable peace.”
The statement appeals for respect by all parties for the God-given life and dignity of every human being.
“As Christians, we believe every life is precious. We are all diminished when we fail to protect the dignity of humanity,” said Rev Hollis.
“The Uniting Church has long shared a vision for a just peace in Palestine and Israel. We are heartbroken by the ongoing deadly and destructive violence.”
The WCC statement was released by the executive committee at its meeting in Nigeria. It condemns both “the brutal attacks on Israeli communities by Hamas militants” and “Israel’s disproportionate retaliation” including indiscriminate targeting of civilians, hospitals, churches and mosques.
Further the statement stresses its grave concern about “the proliferation of hateful acts and expressions of antisemitism and of hatred of Arabs and Muslims in the region and the wider world, against the background of the current violence.”
Rev Hollis likewise condemned acts of antisemitism or attacks on Muslim or Palestinian communities in Australia, calling for people to seek justice and peace in ways that do not harm, vilify or incite further violence.
“In the Uniting Church we draw on a history of dialogue with our friends of Jewish and Muslim faith, grounded in a desire to strengthen understanding and respect for one another. This commitment to relationship and dialogue prompts us to bear witness to our common humanity and desire for peace.”
The Uniting Church also signed onto a statement by the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) last month which called for an immediate cessation of the violence. NCCA’s international aid and development agency, Act for Peace, is accepting donations to support local partner, the Near East Council of Churches (NECC) in Gaza.
Rev Hollis invited Uniting Church communities to continue to pray for pathway to a just and lasting peace and for our Christian siblings in the region, especially as they approach Christmas.
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