This week, the President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Stuart McMillan, invited congregations to support an awareness-raising campaign on the plight of the Palestinian people. This is a follow-up to the resolution at the 14th Assembly in Perth in 2015, which was a response to official requests from Heads of Churches in Jerusalem and the World Council of Churches. Importantly it was also a response informed by many Uniting Church members who have visited the Holy Land in recent years. Whether participating in ecumenical outreach programs, pilgrimages or their own personal travel, many Uniting Church members have come back to Australia shocked at the inhumane treatment of Palestinians in their homeland.
After his National Ministers’ Conference in Jerusalem in 2014, ex-President Rev. Prof. Andrew Dutney shared moving stories of the ‘Living Stones’ (1 Peter 2:5) – the members of the Palestinian Christian community who endure daily humiliation, intimidation and worse under Israeli military occupation. It may be of interest to you to explore this issue further on the UCA Assembly website, which contains a number of resources to inform and encourage you in your engagement with this important issue.
Your prayers, support and solidarity for our Palestinian brothers and sisters in Christ are greatly needed. These prayers together with your continuing prayers for a just peace for Palestine and Israel are highly valued.
“My voice will always be raised in support of Christian-Jewish ties and against the anti-Semitism that all sensible people fear and detest…
But this cannot be an excuse for doing nothing and for standing aside as successive Israeli governments colonise the West Bank and advance racist laws.” Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu
A prayer for peace in the Middle East
God of justice, bless those who work for peace through justice. Strengthen their resolve in the face of seemingly endless violence. Guide the leaders of the people of the Middle East to know your will and to support a just peace for all of your children.
God of love, lifting up the holy land for all humankind, breathe love and compassion into our prayers with a desire for nothing other than peace: peace in our hearts, peace for all creation, and especially peace in the land that is called holy.
*God of hope, we lift up the city of Jerusalem, distracted and divided, yet still filled with promise as all the cities of the world. Come again into our cities, places of worship, Upper Rooms and Gethsemanes, that we may be given sight to recognize you.
God of mercy, even as we long to understand that which is often beyond our comprehension, we lay before you the hearts, minds and bodies of all those suffering from conflict in Palestine and Israel and from the ongoing occupation. Shower upon all the people of the Holy Land the spirit of justice and reconciliation.
God of the nations, give to all our people the blessings of well-being, freedom, and harmony, and, above all things, give us faith in you that we may be strengthened to care for all those in need until the coming of your son, our Saviour and Lord.