Friday, January 09, 2009

WCC says Christians worldwide are acting on the Gaza crisis.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has made repeated calls for a cease-fire and peace between Israel and Gaza. This week on Jan. 7, it reiterated its call for a cease-fire and appealed to Christians everywhere to pray for peace and to advocate with their governments for a just peace in Israel and Palestine.

WCC general secretary Samuel Kobia called on Christians "to inspire and encourage their leaders in the constructive work that leads beyond enmity to reconciliation." Such a peace "must reinstate the ceasefire on both sides of the border and speed the lifting of Israel's blockade on Gaza," as well as "include respect by all authorities for international law as it applies to human rights, humanitarian aid, and protection of civilians in conflict zones," he said.

In a press release today, the WCC reported that "individuals, groups, churches, and councils of churches from Kenya to Sweden to the United States to Australia are carrying out hundreds of advocacy actions involving Christians concerned about the Gaza crisis, especially the collective punishment of the people of Gaza, and the need for a just and lasting peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples."

The WCC has received reports of church-related advocacy in some 20 countries, go to for a list including statements, public demonstrations, and letter campaigns addressed to government officials and parliament members. The advocacy work is "usually accompanied by vigils and prayer services and collection of funds to support humanitarian relief work," the release said.

Goals for Christian advocacy actions include an immediate cease-fire that ends violence against civilians on both sides of the border, free access for humanitarian aid, lifting of the blockade on Gaza, and internationally sponsored negotiations under the framework of international law as the basis for peace, the WCC said.

Go to for the the WCC statements and actions related to Gaza, including for the full text of general secretary Kobia's letter and for a WCC central committee minute on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, dating back to Feb. 2008.

Source: 1/9/2009 Newsline Special

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