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U.S. Church Leaders Plead for Middle East Peace

( [email protected] ) May 08, 2004 02:25 PM EDT

On May 7, fifty leaders of evangelical and mainline Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox churches and church-relation organizations in the U.S. delivered a letter to President Bush, appealing for greater concern and action in the Israel-Palestine area.

The leaders mentioned that the “churches have directed their concerns to the Israeli governments but to little avail.” Therefore, they implored the President to assist the Muslims, Jews and Christians in the region, stating, “your help is needed as a force for peacemaking that builds bridges to a new and hopeful future.”

With particular emphasis on the extension of the Israeli-Palestine separation barrier, the church leaders said that “the crisis in the Holy Land confronting Christian Palestinians, Christian institutions, and those who wish to visit the birthplace of Christianity.”

Brother Robert Schieler, one of the signatories, expressed: “Even if the barrier is intended for security, it has had the very real effects of separating students and faculty from their classrooms, families from one another, farmers from their fields, and Christian worshippers from their churches.”

Other signatories included the heads of many Catholic orders and organizations in the United States; the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches; the Presiding Bishops and leaders of many denominations, such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America; and Armenian Church of America; evangelical leaders including Leighton Ford, Robert Seiple, and Ron Sider; the heads of relief and development agencies such as World Vision, Catholic Relief Services, Church World Service, and the Mennonite Central Committee; and many others.

The complete text of the letter and the list of signatories are available at: http://www.cmep.org/letters/BushLetter.pdf