In the shadows of grief and concern, I reach out to you today regarding the deeply distressing events unfolding in the Middle East. The devastating acts of war by Hamas against Israel, resulting in the tragic loss of innocent lives and the taking of individuals as hostages, are heartbreaking and incomprehensible. Such acts of violence and brutality have historically intensified animosities rather than fostering resolution, and we must resoundingly condemn these actions.
What can you do? I humbly call all of us, and invite our pastors to call congregations, to the following responses:
Pray – Pray for the hostages, for those who have suffered losses, and for peace in the Middle East. Pray for leaders that they will make good, right and just decisions that value and protect life.
Empathize - Reach out to those impacted by the war. It may be family, friends, colleagues, or others from the Middle East. Share your concerns and listen.
Learn - Talk with people from the Middle East or read to better understand.
Be sensitive - Aggression and war affect people differently, especially those who have been to war or combat zones. Listen, pray as needed, assist the individual to receive additional help.
While this is an ancient conflict dating back to Abraham, we must never give in or give up on hope. Jesus has always shown through prayer and working together that God does bring peace.
I want to give thanks and prayers for several EPA pastors and laity who were in Israel during this attack. They have been safely moved to another country and are or will be returning home soon. We give thanks for their safety and pray for their continued safety and consolation as they travel home.
In this daunting challenge, let our faith be the beacon that guides us and our congregations to embody Christ's message of love, hope, and peace.
Bishop John Schol The United Methodists of Eastern Pennsylvania & Greater New Jersey
Cornwall UMC 717-272-0148
P.O. Box 687 Cornwall, PA 17016
For GPS locatOr enter 50 Freeman Dr., Lebanon, PA
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