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National Council of Churches member communions
express sorrow at shootings in Jerusalem


New York, March 7, 2008  ̶ The General Secretary and heads of National Council of Churches member communions have expressed shock and sorrow at the shootings on the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

"The killing compounds our sadness over the recent violence in Gaza and Israel," the statement said. "Acts of terror and reprisal are abhorrent, and a grim reminder of the continuing cycle of violence in which Israelis and Palestinians try to live."

"We call on the political and religious leaders of Israel and of Palestine to rededicate themselves to working for peace," the statement said, "and to provide the leadership that is so desperately needed for peacemaking to continue. 

The full text of the statement is as follows:

As leaders of Christian communities in the United States, we are shocked by the attack on the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and saddened that violence has claimed yet more human lives in Israel.  We pray for all of those who have died, and for their families and loved ones and also for the other students at the seminary, who will carry the scars of this horror for the rest of their lives.   

This killing compounds our sadness over the recent violence in Gaza and Israel.  Acts of terror and reprisal are abhorrent, and a grim reminder of the continuing cycle of violence in which Israelis and Palestinians try to live.  We are thankful that it appears these events will not derail the peace process.  We pray that such tragic deaths not be allowed to inflame more violence, but rather be a spur to redouble efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire, and to all the more vigorously pursue peace.   

We call on the political and religious leaders of Israel and of Palestine to rededicate themselves to working for peace, and to provide the leadership that is so desperately needed for peacemaking to continue.  We call on President George W. Bush and other leaders in the United States to support both Israeli and Palestinian leadership at this time, and to continue all their efforts for a secure, just and viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

May we all draw on Godís power, which is far beyond that of weapons and violence, and respond faithfully to Godís call for all people to live in peace.

The statement was signed by church leaders reached Friday:

Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
Rev. John H. Thomas, General Minister and President, United Church of Christ
Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (USA)
Bishop C. Christopher Epting, Deputy for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, The Episcopal Church
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


NCC News contact:  Philip Jenks, 212.870.2228, NCCnews@ncccusa.org

 

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