Friday, January 09, 2009

Brethren call for cease fire in Gaza, help contribute aid.

The Church of the Brethren has joined in the worldwide calls for a cease-fire and peace between Israel and Gaza, which are being made by many Christian denominations and ecumenical organizations. Brethren Disaster Ministries has requested an $8,000 grant contributing to the work of CWS in Gaza, from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund. CWS has announced it is offering comprehensive humanitarian aid for Gaza (see story below).

Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger has helped initiate a request from the National Council of Churches (NCC) for an audience with Israel’s ambassador to the United States. Noffsinger said he also hopes for a similar meeting between leaders of the NCC and leadership of the Palestinians in Gaza. He said that the NCC leaders will urge both sides to a cease-fire and cessation of violence, if their request for the meetings are granted.

The Brethren Witness/Washington Office and On Earth Peace both have issued calls for a cease-fire in Gaza and are encouraging Brethren to help take action to urge governments and parties to the conflict to cease hostilities. The World Council of Churches (WCC) and Church World Service (CWS) also have been among those issuing statements on the Gaza crisis in recent days. The Church of the Brethren is a member denomination of all three ecumenical organizations--the NCC, WCC, and CWS.

In an e-mail message to supporters, On Earth Peace executive director Bob Gross called for action to help end the war in Gaza. "Please don’t stand by while the suffering continues in Gaza," he wrote. Gross listed a variety of action opportunities including learning more about the situation from suggested sources such as the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions and the Institute for Middle East Understanding, writing a letter to the editor, writing to representatives in the US Congress, making a donation to the work of On Earth Peace in the Middle East, and sending a personal message to people involved in the conflict to be carried by a delegation that is currently visiting in Israel and Palestine (see story below).

The On Earth Peace e-mail also included an analysis of the conflict by Manchester College professor emeritus David Waas. "The tragic conflict in Gaza is beyond understanding and every facet is open to interpretation and conflicting analysis," Waas wrote in part. "Only one thing is clear: the conflict is deadly and a tragedy for all peoples concerned--Palestinians, Israelis, Arabs, and the peoples of the world."

Go to to find the delegation's blog. Contact communications coordinator Gimbiya Kettering at to request a full copy of the e-mail from Bob Gross on the Gaza crisis.

The Brethren Witness/Washington Office has urged Brethren to call the White House and their representatives in the US Congress to urge statements in support of a cease-fire. An "Action Alert" highlighted information from Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), of which the Church of the Brethren is a member denomination and the Brethren Witness/Washington Office is a board member.

"The Church of the Brethren has consistently stated ‘that Middle East negotiations concerning the future of the West Bank and Gaza shall be based on UN Security Council resolutions which address the right of all states in the area to live in peace within secure and recognized borders’ (GB 1980)," said the alert. "This statement is consistent with our long-held heritage and belief in nonviolence and supports the CMEP declaration that ‘As American Christians, we deplore the tragic loss of life of civilians caught in the escalating violence in Gaza and southern Israel and care deeply about the welfare of both Israelis and Palestinians who are suffering and living in fear.’"

"Pray for peace in the Middle East," the Brethren Witness/Washington Office requested. For a copy of the Action Alert contact the Brethren Witness/Washington Office at or 800-785-3246.

Source: 1/9/2009 Newsline Special

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