Bishops’ Statement on the Gaza Humanitarian Crisis

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Dear Companions in Christ,

Our hearts continue to break as the current conflict in Gaza approaches nearly 150 days, with 1,200 Israelis killed and many held hostage and mistreated. Over 30,000 Palestinians have been killed and, in some areas, thousands are living in famine-like conditions. Last Thursday, a deadly attack on Palestinians as they gathered to receive humanitarian aid left over 100 dead and over 750 more wounded, according to a statement by the Episcopal Public Policy Network. 

The continuing violence and rising death toll leaves many of us unsure of what to say, or what to do. We cry with the Psalmist of Psalm 13, “How long, O Lord, how long?”

As Episcopalians, our Baptismal Covenant calls upon us to pray with fervor, and to act to protect the most vulnerable among us. We are called to witness to, and to share, God’s redeeming and reconciling love in this world.

So let us continue to pray, without ceasing, for peace in the land where our Lord once walked.

And let us do what we can to create peace in the world, including our own country, neighborhoods, and homes.

We join the Presiding Bishop’s call for a ceasefire, for the release of all hostages, and for humanitarian aid to be allowed to reach all those displaced and deprived of food and water. 

There has also been an increase in anti-Semitic and anti-Palestinian acts across Connecticut and our nation. We condemn any and all violence and/or hate speech targeting our Palestinian and Jewish siblings. We encourage you to reach out to your friends and neighbors: build bridges, offer kindness, listen and learn from one another, and live locally into God’s dream for peace and justice in our world.

We continue to condemn the atrocities against Israelis on October 7, the hostage taking by Hamas, and all violence that has been committed against non-combatants in Gaza and the West Bank. There are differing perspectives regarding how the armed conflict ought to be resolved. We must not be silenced by different points of view, but rather speak and act with a careful, listening ear to those with whom we disagree. We have vowed, as Christians, “to respect the dignity of every human being.” This vow made at Baptism can be our guide, our lens, and our call to prayer and action at a time such as this.

May God’s love, made manifest in the Prince of Peace, fill the hearts and minds of all, bring an end to violence, and move us all towards the peace of God that passes all understanding. And as we journey together in this Season of Lent, let us recommit ourselves in word and action to being a people of the hope and peace revealed in the resurrection of our Lord.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey W. Mello, Bishop Diocesan

The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan

Resources:

We commend to you this statement from the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem as well as this resource page from The Episcopal Church’s Office of Public Affairs, along with its Office of Government Relations.

We also invite you to watch this conversation between The Most Reverend Hosam Elias Naoum, Archbishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and Primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East, and The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. You will need to scroll down on the page to find it.