Holy Land: prayers and peace

23 October 2023

Church and charity leaders call for restraint, de-escalation of violence and protection of civilians in Gaza and Israel.

Friends of the Holy Land appeal for Gaza

The CEO of Friends of the Holy Land, a Christian charity, Brendan Metcalf writes:

Just over 1,000 Christians live and worship in Gaza. As the intense bombing began, they were reaching out to their neighbours of all faiths, offering shelter and support.

Around 4,000 people have been taking refuge in Church buildings, places they thought were safe from the bombs. There are 3,000 sheltering in the Arab Orthodox Cultural Centre (one of our projects, pictured in 2022 below) We have sadly seen in the news that this is not guaranteed but is still the best hope for the local people.

Friends of the Holy Land is registered as a local charity and we have our own local bank accounts in the Holy Land. Last week we sent US$10,000 to Gaza to the Christian community to help them buy water, tinned food, medicines and other limited essential supplies. We had confirmation that the cash had arrived and was distributed immediately by the Christian committee on the ground. However, we know that this will only support those sheltering for 5-7 days. We have been able to send a further US$25,000 this week but they urgently need more help. Together we can stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ, by:

We are heartbroken by these recent events and are doing our best to react quickly to get immediate help to those sheltering in our churches and buildings in Gaza City. We are also thinking of the longer-term impact and need to build our available reserves to help bring relief across Gaza, the West Bank and Israel in the aftermath. Your prayers and donations are very much appreciated.

Friends of the Holy Land is a Charity and Network in Association with Churches Together in England.

Heads of Jerusalem Churches and Archbishop of Canterbury joint statement on the bombing of St. Porphyrios Church and humanitarian concerns in the Gaza war

“…we call upon all warring parties to de-escalate the violence, cease from indiscriminately targeting civilians on all sides, and operate within the international rules of warfare. Only in this way, we believe, can the groundwork be laid for an eventual diplomatic consideration of longstanding grievances so that a just and lasting peace can finally be achieved throughout our beloved Holy Land both in our time, and for generations to come.”

Read the full statement from 21 October.

CTE Presidents’ statement from Friday 13 October.

Further prayers and statements from our Member Churches on the violence in Israel and Gaza (via CTBI).

Letter to the Foreign Secretary from the Network of Christian Peace Organisations

Representatives from The Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Iona Community and the Student Christian Movement – all of which are Charities and Networks in Association with CTE – have joined 13 organisations and more than 700 church members to sign an open letter to the Foreign Secretary about the escalating violence in Israel and Gaza. The letter, created by members of the Network of Christian Peace Organisations, calls on the Foreign Secretary to promote ‘de-escalation and dialogue’ in Palestine and Israel. It recognises the huge ongoing human suffering and urges lasting ‘non-military’ solutions to peace in the region to be pursued.

John Cooper, from Fellowship of Reconciliation, who helped organise the letter said “As more blood is spilled in the Middle East it’s important for us to act as people of hope. Our hope starts by recognising and lamenting the increased violence in this sacred region. It then moves to action, urging people in positions of political power to use their influence not simply to stop this new fighting but to lay foundations for lasting peace”

Read the full statement.

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