Statement from the Council of Bishops on Hamas/Israel war: “Give Peace a Chance”
Editor's note: This letter was published by The United Methodist Council of Bishops on Nov. 10, 2023 and shared with United Methodists of Upper New York.
“Give Peace A Chance”
Christ’s true disciples must work for peace: build it and not just keep it; live it and not just aspire for it. If Christ is our peace, then peace must be imperative (Resolution 6129: The United Methodist Church and Peace).
The United Methodist Church Council of Bishops, along with millions of people across the globe, are weeping and praying for the people of the Holy Land. We decry the Oct. 7, 2023, attack by Hamas and the continuing loss of life of Israelis and Palestinians including thousands of children.
We cannot remain silent while a preventable humanitarian crisis in Gaza unfolds with no safe haven for the citizens in Gaza or the volunteers and agencies seeking to prevent starvation and to treat the wounded.
We value all life. We encourage every effort toward a peaceful solution. We call for the release of hostages and for the killing to stop. We also call for the immediate allowance of unrestricted humanitarian assistance. As Bishops of the Church, we denounce acts of and the proliferation of antisemitism, Islamophobia, and hate crimes that may begin with words and often turn to violence directed toward persons whose race, ethnicity or religion is disparaged.
We cannot stand by as though God is not weeping when the innocent, including children, are dying. We cannot abandon the way of peace.
May we find ways to listen to the stories of those most directly impacted by this centuries-old conflict. We commit to join all people in creating life-giving ways to journey toward peace with justice for all.
The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church met at Lake Junaluska in North Carolina from Nov. 4-11, 2023.