A Message to the Church
from the Primate and National Bishop
In a letter to their churches, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada National Bishop Susan Johnson and Anglican Church of Canada Archbishop Linda Nicholls share their deep concern for the escalating violence in Gaza and central Israel. In their letter, the two leaders urge every Canadian Lutheran and Anglican, and all peoples of good will, to walk in solidarity with our partners. The leaders call for prayers for the cessation of violence, the sharing of the letter they have written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs with local MPs, and donations to support efforts by local partners in the region to continue ministries of relief, care, justice, and peace.
Learn to do good, seek justice, correct oppression;
bring justice to the orphan, and plead the widow’s cause. — Isaiah 1: 17
May 20, 2021
Dear Friends in Christ,
We are deeply distressed by the escalating violence and bloodshed in Gaza and central Israel. The volatile situation in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, where dozens of Palestinians are being evicted from their family homes by Israeli settlers, has progressed into the death of numerous civilians, unprecedented destruction and deeper community divisions.
Our beloved and besieged church partners, the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, tell us “we know from experience that violence and hatred will never lead to solutions to the deep ethnic and religious divisions that have afflicted this region for over a century. We urge all parties to act responsibly and calmly, and to preserve human life at all costs. We continue to pray and advocate for reconciliation and a just peace for Jerusalem and all its residents – Christian, Jewish, and Muslim, Palestinian and Israeli.”
We have written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, urging Canada to do more to promote peace. [The letter is available here.]
On May 16, 2021, Canadian Anglicans and Lutherans observed Jerusalem & Holy Land Sunday. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem continue in their missions of healing to the wounded, humanitarian relief to those who have lost homes and jobs, and comfort to all who mourn the death of loved ones. We thank all parishes, groups and individuals who find ways to lift up our partners.
We urge every Canadian Lutheran and Anglican, and all peoples of good will, to walk in solidarity with our partners by:
- Praying continuously for the cessation of all hostilities and peace in the Land of the Holy One and for the ministry of our partners.
- Reviewing our letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and forwarding it to your local MP.
- Making a donation to support efforts by our partners to continue ministries of relief, care, justice and peace.
Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City
In the words of Archbishop Hosam Naoum “Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City has been on the frontlines of these relief efforts, a beacon of hope to those trying to stay alive under such dire conditions. But they are overwhelmed and in desperate need of funding to obtain precious fuel for hospital generators, and to purchase emergency medicine and medical supplies so that the doctors and nurses who are working around the clock can meet the crushing flow of injured and traumatized victims.”
August Victoria Hospital, Mount of Olives, East Jerusalem
Most of the patients served by Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) continue to be in social need and seeking life-saving specialized care. On a daily basis, these specialty services touch countless lives, both young and old, from communities across the Palestinian territories. In light of the escalating violence, AVH has expanded its Triage Unit into a Temporary Emergency Set-up to help receive and treat injured individuals.
To make a donation in support of Al Ahli Arab Hospital: anglican.ca/jerusalem/donate
To make a donation in support of August Victoria Hospital: clwr.org/AVH
We join together in prayer:
God of Love,
In the midst of continuing political and social conflict, in fear and uncertainty, we thank you for faithful leaders in the Holy Land, especially Bishop Azar of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, and Archbishop Hosam Naoum of The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. Give them strength in speaking out against injustices which eliminate the security and freedom of people. Give us that same courage to open our eyes to what is needed to protect and support those who are most vulnerable. We prayer for true and lasting peace. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
Yours in Christ,
The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls
Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC)
The Rev. Susan C. Johnson
National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC)
Sources and other links:
- Post of letter to the churches on the Anglican Church of Canada website. Note that there is a short video at the beginning of the post that would have been prepared for Jerusalem Sunday. It juxtaposes “In the midst of this” showing images of the current violence and “there is” showing images representing love, hope, and faith.
- Post of the letter to the churches on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada website.
- A video Prayer for Jerusalem read by Archbishop Suheil Dawani
- The letter written on May 19, 2021 to the Hon Marc Garneau by the Most Rev. Linda Nicholls and the Rev. Susan C. Johnson that is mentioned in the letter to the churches.