National Council of Churches reports that on Jan. 9, "leaders of three faiths
that trace their origins back to a common ancestor -- the Patriarch Abraham --
joined their hearts and pens today to form a common prayer for peace between Israel, Gaza
and among all nations.
Gutow of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon,
General Secretary of the National Council of Churches USA, and Dr. Sayeed Sayid
of the Islamic Society of North America, acknowledged having "different
views" as to how to end the confrontation between Israel and Gaza, said
they looked "to the power that is greater than any of us can even
contemplate" to ask for peace in the Middle East."
I know each of these men. I work wit
Dr. Kinnamon on a weekly basis. I have met, spoken with and conversed by email
with Rabbi Gutow, and last fall I was at a meeting with Dr. Sayeed Sayid and
served with him on a committee for the Independent Sector. These are each
thoughtful and respectful men; each deeply and thoroughly committee to his
faith yet out for their faiths they see the need to be engaged with each other.
They went on to say, "the three of us come from different
religions and have different views regarding how to best solve the problems
faced in the confrontation between Israel and Hamas. In many arenas we have
found ways to work together but not yet in this situation. We look to the power
that is greater than any of us can even contemplate and ask that power to help
us find peace among the nations. "The full text can be found on the NCC
Church World Service,
an organization related to the NCC, is supporting humanitarian relief efforts
in Gaza as a
member of the Action by Churches Together International alliance. I am proud to
e a member of the CWS board of directors.
ACT efforts include
those of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC)'s
Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (DSPR), International Orthodox
Christian Charities, the Lutheran World Federation and Norwegian Church Aid,
all long-time CWS partners. CWS-supported efforts now include the
provision of food - including high-energy biscuits for children - medicine and
blankets, as well as the deployment of trauma counselors. However, ACT said
today that the movement of aid into Gaza
is at a standstill, because of a strike of truck drivers concerned about the
lack of security. It is unlikely the CWS-supported transport or any other aid
"will be able to move into Gaza
today," said ACT representative for Israel
Liv Steimoeggen. The UN is responsible for organizing the transport of aid
shipments into Gaza,
including aid supplied by ACT.
HOW TO HELP: Contributions to support this
emergency appeal may be sent to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN, 46515.
Please designate #6824, 2009 Gaza Humanitarian Response. For further
information about disasters to which Church World Service is responding please
visit www.churchworldservice.org or
call the CWS Hotline, (800) 297-1516.
Meanwhile the ELCA bishops continue their trip spending today in the town
of Hebron on the West Bank. A blog of that trip can be found on the ELCA
home page, which records that, "The
trip by bishops of the ELCA and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is to
stress accompaniment with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the
Holy Land, raise awareness of regional issues and boost advocacy for peace….The
visit to Hebron was arranged by the
Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel," a unit of the
World Council of Churches which tracks of "how Israel deals with Palestinians
in territories it controls." At the ELCA webpage you
will also find connections to the ELCA program, Peace not Walls - Stand for Justice in the Holy Land.