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1999 NCC News Archives

A Statement on the Death of King Hussein
by
The Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell
General Secretary
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.

February 8, 1999

We have been saddened deeply by the death of King Hussein of Jordan after a long struggle with cancer. Like many others, we had dared to hope that he would recover from his latest setback, as he has previously. We offer our condolences to his wife, Queen Noor, to his son and heir King Abdullah II, to his children, to all the Hashemite royal family and to the people of Jordan, who have lost a long-serving, strong and capable ruler, and a brave, compassionate, sincere and humane man. We ask God to be present to them to guide and comfort them through this time of grief and mourning.

Throughout the years of his reign, King Hussein has been a voice of wisdom and moderation, seeking to balance the many competing demands and conflicting trends that have characterized the life of Jordan and the region in his near half century as king. He has been a spokesperson for peace with justice, which he embodied in the treaty of peace between Israel and Jordan. He has given much of himself to the struggle for a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians, even leaving his medical treatment to provide crucial assistance to the conclusion of the Wye agreements. Few other individuals have done more for the peaceful resolution of Middle East conflicts than King Hussein.

At the same time, under his leadership Jordan has been transformed into a modern nation with honest and effective governance and an open society. Of special note to us are the efforts that King Hussein and others have made to enhance good relations and promote dialogue among persons of different religious faiths, during a period when religion has often been used divisively and has become a source of conflict.

Over the years of his reign, many delegations and visitors from the U.S. churches have received cordial and gracious welcomes from the King, his family and members of his government. He and his government were always open to exchange views with the U.S. Christian community, which has been of great benefit as we have sought to bear our own witness for peace. Dialogue with King Hussein personally in 1979 played a crucial role in the formation of the NCCCUSA Policy Statement on the Middle East, adopted by the Governing Board in November, 1980, that has served ever since as the foundation of the NCCCUSA's ecumenical activity and public witness on the Middle East.

In our loss, we are comforted by the knowledge of the sincere faith in God that sustained King Hussein through many painful tests and trials in his life. May God the Merciful receive him into the gardens of Paradise and grant him peace eternally.

-end-

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