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The Escalating Violence In The Holy Land

A Message from Bishop Aebischer

Dear Friends in the South Carolina Synod,

As a faith community, our hearts grieve this week while we watch with horror the news of escalating conflict and terrorism in the Holy Land.

There is no question that the conflict between Israel and Hamas is highly complicated, and there are no easy answers. There is also no question that it is impossible to understand the awful things happening, like kidnapping, torture, and targeted civilian deaths, nor to condone them as appropriate actions to be taken by anyone. We stand with those who are working for peace.

People in grief and fear commonly look to blame and retaliate, but blame and retaliation are fruitless. Instead, let us pray for peace and safety for the people of Israel and Palestine, who both want to be free of discrimination and hatred. Let us pray for an end to this conflict and for our human capacity to turn our neighbors into our enemies instead of working for ways to live together in peace. Let us pray for the safety of all innocent and caught in the middle of this conflict. And let us pray for our world leaders to work together to find the path, imperfect though it may be, that can lead to a secure peace for everyone in the Holy Land.

In Christ,

+Bishop Ginny

A History and Context for the Israel-Hamas War with The REv. Bobby Morris

ELCA Israel-Hamas War Information and Resources

Israel-Hamas War

In response to the Hamas attacks in southern Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel’s declaration of war against Hamas, including the ongoing siege of Gaza, the ELCA offers the following statements from some of our Lutheran and global partners in the region. Included are ELCA resources for a deeper understanding of the context, the humanitarian crises of the current war, and the ELCA’s work for a just peace in Palestine and Israel.

Presiding Bishop Eaton’s statement on the Israel-Hamas War 10.13.2023

Presiding Bishop Eaton’s letter to Bishop Azar 10.10.2023

Young Adults in Global Mission Update 10.9.2023

Support Lutheran Disaster Response here.

ELCA Social Statement: For Peace in God’s World

ELCA Social Message: Human Rights

Global and Ecumenical Resources

Bishop Azar and ELCJHL

Update and Statement of Appreciation to our Partners for Prayers and Support 10.12.2023
Statement from Bishop Azar and ELCJHL 10.7.2023

World Council of Churches 

Church leaders in Holy Land call for de-escalation, respect for human rights | World Council of Churches ( 10.12.2023

Lutheran World Federation

Israel and Palestine: Civilians must be protected, and hostages released 10.11.2023

Churches for Middle East Peace

Call for a Ceasefire and Protection of Civilians 10.12.23
Call for Addressing Core Issues of Conflict 10.9.20
Lord Have Mercy: Prayers to End Violence 10.7.2023

Church World Service

CWS Mourns Lives Lost in Horrific Attacks in Israel and Palestine, Calls for End to Violence and Protection of Vulnerable Families 10.12.2023


In the face of grief and violence we offer this prayer…..

God of peace and justice,
Our hearts weep as the rockets fall in Israel and Gaza,
As families are bereaved
As men, women and children are taken hostage,
As anger and hatred are fuelled again.

In the land you chose for your people and your Son we pray
for those bereaved by the violence,
For the wounded and injured,
For the hostages
That your love will surround and comfort them.

We pray for strength and compassion
for all offering medical care, especially our partners, the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital and Augusta Victoria Hospital.

We pray for Bishop Sani Azar and Archbishop Hosam Naoum and all Christians in the  Holy Land
for their safety and their leadership in this time of crisis.

We pray for all leaders in Israel and Palestine that a just and lasting peace will be found.

In the midst of our grief and sorrow we trust in your unfailing love for all people, and for your Land, and ask that your wisdom would prevail, for we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, who brings the world eternal peace.

This prayer was shared by Bishop Susan Johnson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls who is the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

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Contact Information

ELCA South Carolina Synod
1003 Richland Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Telephone 803-765-0590
Fax 803-252-5558

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