Christian leaders press presidential candidates on Israeli-Palestinian conflict
[Episcopal News Service] September 9, 2016
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has joined 20 other Christian leaders in writing to the four U.S. presidential candidates urging them to speak forcefully and provide leadership on ending the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The leaders, organized as Churches for Middle East Peace and representing most of the mainline Christian denominations in the United States, expressed their “deep concern about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Israeli military occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, now in its 50th year.” They asked the presidential candidates — Secretary Hillary Clinton, Governor Gary Johnson, Dr. Jill Stein, and Mr. Donald Trump — to pledge, “if elected, to take urgent and vigorous new steps to seek creative political solutions that will foster a just and lasting peace and help each party to realize self-determination with necessary confidence building measures to build mutual security.”
Following the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel has largely controlled East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights in what are collectively identified as the Israeli-occupied territories.
Last April, Curry joined more than 100 church leaders from the Middle East and the United States at the Carter Center in Atlanta for an unprecedented summit focused on seeking a lasting two-state solution for peace in the Holy Land and ending Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.
The Episcopal Church has long supported a two-state solution in which a secure and universally recognized state of Israel lives alongside a free, viable, and secure state for the Palestinian people, with a shared Jerusalem as the capital of both.
The Episcopal Church’s most recent action on Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking was taken at General Convention in June 2015. Resolution B013 “reaffirms the vocation of the church as an agent of reconciliation and restorative justice,” and recognizes that “meaningful reconciliation can help to engender sustainable, long-lasting peace and that such reconciliation must incorporate both political action and locally driven grassroots efforts.”
Resolution C018 expresses solidarity with and support for Christians in Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories; affirms the work of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem in healing, education, and pastoral care; and affirms the work of Christians engaged in relationship building, interfaith dialogue, nonviolence training, and advocacy for the rights of Palestinians.
The resolution also urges Episcopalians to demonstrate their solidarity by making pilgrimage to Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories and learning from fellow Christians in the region.
In addition to official Episcopal Church policy, several dioceses and networks also are engaged in Holy Land partnerships and advocacy, particularly in supporting the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and its more than 30 social service institutions throughout Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Territories. These institutions include schools, hospitals, clinics and centers for people with disabilities.
The diocese and the institutions also are supported by the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, a nonpolitical, nonprofit organization established in 1985.
The Palestine Israel Network, part of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, has campaigned for more vigorous church policy to end the occupation, but the Episcopal Church has not supported its calls for boycotts and divestment against Israeli companies that profit from the occupation. Instead, the Episcopal Church supports a policy of positive investment.
“Almost 50 years of occupation have and will continue to erode the soul of both the occupied and the occupier,” the Christian leaders said in their September letter to the presidential candidates. “To ease tensions, we urge you to support people-to-people exchanges and the end of practices under the occupation that result in major human rights abuses, such as home demolitions, systematic land seizures, travel restrictions, the blockade of Gaza, and indefinite administrative detention, including detention of persons under eighteen.
“We pray that, as you look forward to the heavy burdens of leadership, you will find the wisdom, strength and persistence to seek new avenues toward a just and durable peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
Churches for Middle East Peace is encouraging all people of faith to join the Christian leaders of in calling upon the 2016 presidential candidates to pledge, if elected, to take urgent and vigorous new steps to seek creative political solutions that will foster a just and lasting peace in Israel and Palestine.
Presiding Bishop Calls for a Season of Prayer
March 29, 2016
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has called for a season of prayer for regions of the Anglican Communion which are experiencing violence and civil strife.
“In this season of Resurrection, I call on everyone to pray for our brothers and sisters in areas where there is much burden and little hope,” the Presiding Bishop said.
In addition, in his Easter Message 2016, Presiding Bishop Curry addressed the situation in Brussels, noting, "The truth is even as we speak this Holy Week, we do so not only in the shadow of the cross but we do so in the shadow of those who have been killed in Brussels, of those who have been wounded and maimed, of those who weep and mourn. And of a world mourning, and not too sure how to move forward.”
Citing Galatians 6:2 - Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ – Presiding Bishop Curry called for prayer throughout the holy season of Easter. Beginning on April 3 and proceeding through Pentecost May 15, The Episcopal Church is asked to pray for a particular province or region: Burundi, Central America, Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Middle East, Pakistan, South Sudan.
The Episcopal Church of the US
On this page we will provide access to timely actions, reports, and statements from our national church, or the "ECUSA." The Episcopal Church is headquartered in New York, but has member dioceses and churches in 17 nations.
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“If we who are Christians participate in the political process and in the public discourse as we are called to do — the New Testament tells us that we are to participate in the life of the polis, in the life of our society — the principle on which Christians must vote is the principle, Does this look like love of neighbor?" – Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, March 2016
Episcopalians can live out our call to care for our neighbors as ourselves by engaging in the public square. This November 8, our nation will head to the polls to decide a number of important elections, and there are many opportunities for Episcopalians to engage in this electoral process. Official Episcopal policy recognizes voting and political participation as acts of Christian stewardship, calling upon congregations to engage in conversation on public policy issues, to develop voter registration and issue education campaigns, and to advocate for protection of voting rights.
A faithful commitment to political participation aligns with our Baptismal Covenant’s promise to “strive for justice and peace and respect the dignity of every human being.” There are several ways you and your congregation can answer the call to faithfully engage in the electoral process. This page is dedicated to assisting you in navigating some of the important issues in this election season such as addressing poverty, protecting voting rights, and engaging in civil discourse. (For the link and more information, see Episcopalchurch.org.)
Media Release March 15, 2016
The Episcopal Church
Office of Public Affairs
Episcopal Bishops Issue A Word to the Church
"We reject the idolatrous notion that we can ensure the safety of some by sacrificing the hopes of others.”
The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church, meeting in retreat, unanimously approved the following Word To The Church.
Holy Week 2016
On Good Friday the ruling political forces of the day tortured and executed an innocent man. They sacrificed the weak and the blameless to protect their own status and power. On the third day Jesus was raised from the dead, revealing not only their injustice but also unmasking the lie that might makes right.
In a country still living under the shadow of the lynching tree, we are troubled by the violent forces being released by this season’s political rhetoric. Americans are turning against their neighbors, particularly those on the margins of society. They seek to secure their own safety and security at the expense of others. There is legitimate reason to fear where this rhetoric and the actions arising from it might take us.
In this moment, we resemble God’s children wandering in the wilderness. We, like they, are struggling to find our way. They turned from following God and worshiped a golden calf constructed from their own wealth. The current rhetoric is leading us to construct a modern false idol out of power and privilege. We reject the idolatrous notion that we can ensure the safety of some by sacrificing the hopes of others. No matter where we fall on the political spectrum, we must respect the dignity of every human being and we must seek the common good above all else.
We call for prayer for our country that a spirit of reconciliation will prevail and we will not betray our true selves.
(The Episcopal Church House of Bishops met in retreat March 11 – 15, 2016, at Camp Allen Conference Center in Navasota, TX)