The Uniting Church in Australia has launched a national campaign to raise awareness of the plight of the Palestinian people among its church members.
The Living Stones campaign website was launched in Melbourne by the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches Rev Dr Olav Fyske Tveit, who thanked the Uniting Church for its renewed commitment to peace and justice in the Holy Land.
“We as a fellowship of churches including you are committed to continue this journey as a pilgrimage to find a just and sustainable solution together with the Palestinian people and with all peoples living in this area,’ said Olav.
“Any solution must be a solution that is fair and just for all. We are called to give a new word of hope to those who are in chains, who are suppressed, who are blind, who are sick… as our perspective to a conflict. This is a situation where one party is the occupier and the other is the occupied. One party has driven the other party out of their homes.”
Olav observed that next year will mark 50 years of occupation for the Palestinian people since the Six-Day War of 1967.
“It is very proper that you find expressions of solidarity and ways of committing yourself to this case for a just peace. May God bless your efforts in this and may God bless both the people of Israel and Palestine and may God give peace to Jerusalem.”
The Living Stones page hosted on the Uniting Church Assembly website provides basic background information on the situation in Israel-Palestine for church members wishing to learn more or get involved in advocating for justice for Palestinians.
The page includes links to other ecumenical organisations working in Australia and overseas in this area of advocacy as well as information for consumers looking to boycott products from Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories.
The website also features a video of retired Uniting Church Minister Rev Joan Fisher talking about her experience as an ecumenical accompanier with the World Council of Churches’ EAPPI program for three months in 2015.
The campaign is the result of a resolution on Palestine by the Uniting Church in Australia’s 14th Assembly.
“The Living Stones campaign is a response to the request of our Christian brothers and sisters in Palestine conveyed directly to us and via the World Council of Churches,” said Uniting Church President Stuart McMillan.
“It is also a direct response to the experience of many Uniting Church members who have visited the Holy Land and been shocked by the living conditions of Palestinians in their homeland.”
President McMillan and Assembly General Secretary Colleen Geyer have written to every UCA church council member to encourage them to support the Living Stones campaign.
“Your prayers, support and solidarity for our Palestinian brothers and sisters in Christ are greatly needed,’ said Stuart.
“These prayers together with your continuing prayers for a just peace for Palestine and Israel are highly valued.”