Dear People of the Diocese of Olympia,
Yesterday, we had our usual clergy call, and during that time, I asked the clergy, “What are you hearing in your congregations about the Israel-Hamas war?” Some of what I heard mirrored much of what I’ve been feeling myself: hesitancy and trepidation, horror and helplessness, deep grief, and an inability to see a positive and workable way forward. In addition to these many feelings, what I also heard (and have felt) is alarm about hate speech in our own communities, both anti-Muslim speech and antisemitic speech.
As I was putting this together, the Presiding Bishop’s communique entitled “Stop the Killing” came to us all. I include it below. The Presiding Bishop calls for the stopping of the bombing of Gaza so that humanitarian aid can flow to those who need it in Gaza.
Here are the things I offer to you that we can do to make some kind of difference in this situation, no matter where you find yourself standing on this war.
- Pray. Remember, we believe that prayer matters. It affects us and others. Pray daily with me in a way that gives voice to the yearnings of your heart about this situation. I include (also below) the prayer I sent earlier to all of you as this war broke out.
- Give to the organization of your choice. Two that I would recommend are the AFEDJ, that is, the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. Go to https://afedj.org/. Also, Episcopal Relief and Development has established a Middle East Fund to address needs in the Israel-Hamas war. https://www.episcopalrelief.org/. If neither of these expresses what you want to support, identify and give to another organization that draws your interest.
- Write your Congressional representatives or speak out through the Office of Governmental Relations of the Episcopal Church: Yes, our governmental system is not the healthiest at the moment, but write your Congressional representatives anyway, expressing your thoughts about what actions our government should and should not be taking. Also, go to the Office of Governmental Relations of the Episcopal Church and investigate whether you want to sign on to their efforts. https://www.episcopalchurch.org/ministries/office-government-relations/resources-for-the-conflict-in-the-holy-land/
- Give no room to hate speech. Speak up and be counted. Remember our Baptismal covenant in which, based on God’s loving us, we pledge to respect the dignity of every human being.
- Collaborate in ecumenical and interfaith efforts to address conflict and violence. Consider reaching out to people of other denominations or faith traditions, whether this is participating in a rally/peaceful demonstration or participating in a joint effort of some kind. This is the time to do things together.
Know that I am thinking of all of you as you continue to grapple with this and as it continues to reverberate in our communities.
Loving and liberating Creator, send your healing Spirit upon all involved in the current conflict and violence in the Middle East. Comfort those who mourn or who have been harmed by brutality. Stand with those who are fearful. Protect and provide for the powerless and the vulnerable. Inspire a spirit of forbearance and understanding within all and uphold those who even now work for a just and durable peace. In the name of Christ. Amen.
You may know me as the pastor who is always talking about love, and I am. But today I am mindful that the urgency of love—true, sacrificial love that respects all of humanity—is not just a good feeling, and it is not easy.
We are called to a love that demands much from us. We are called to a love that tells the truth.
Today I raise my voice for love because more than 10,000 people have died in Gaza, including more than 4,000 children.
The violence is horrific, and the geopolitics are complex, but my call to love is simple: Stop the killing. Stop all of it. Stop it today.
We will not be silent while an entire population is denied food, water, electricity, and fuel needed to run hospitals. We cannot stand by while thousands of civilians die. Our partners in the region tell us they live in terror—that they feel they have died even while alive. They feel that the international community is tacitly sanctioning the killing of civilians and the bombing of schools, hospitals, and refugee camps.
Staying quiet in this moment would be a stain upon our souls and would deepen our complicity.
U.S. leadership must tell Israel to stop bombing civilian areas and allow access for full humanitarian aid to flow freely into Gaza.
Every human child of God—Palestinian and Israeli—deserves safety and security. We need to stop the killing. Today.
Vengeance will not bring back the dead. Retaliation will not repair the harms and the hurt. We are called to love, even and especially when it seems impossible.
We must stop the next 10,000 from being killed. As Episcopalians, we must call upon our leaders—President Biden, members of Congress, and others—to be unequivocal that we need to stop the killing. Today. This is clearly what love demands of us.
El obispo primado Michael Curry se pronuncia sobre más de 10.000 muertos en Gaza: que cese la matanza
Quizás me conozcan como el pastor que siempre habla del amor, y lo soy. Pero hoy estoy consciente de que la urgencia del amor —un amor verdadero y sacrificado que respeta a toda la humanidad— no es sólo un buen sentimiento y no resulta fácil.
Estamos llamados a un amor que exige mucho de nosotros. Estamos llamados a un amor que dice la verdad.
Hoy levanto mi voz por amor porque más de 10.000 personas han muerto en Gaza, entre ellas más de 4.000 niños.
La violencia es horrible y la geopolítica es compleja, pero mi llamado al amor es simple: que cese la matanza. Que cese del todo. Que cese hoy.
No guardaremos silencio mientras a toda una población se le niega los alimentos, el agua, la electricidad y el combustible necesarios para el funcionamiento de los hospitales. No podemos quedarnos de brazos cruzados mientras miles de civiles mueren. Nuestros asociados en la región nos dicen que viven aterrorizados, que sienten que han muerto incluso en vida. Sienten que la comunidad internacional está aprobando tácitamente la matanza de civiles y el bombardeo de escuelas, hospitales y campos de refugiados.
Quedarnos callados en este momento sería una mancha en nuestras almas y profundizaría nuestra complicidad.
Los dirigentes de Estados Unidos deben decirle a Israel que cese de bombardear zonas civiles y permita el acceso para que toda la ayuda humanitaria entre sin restricciones en Gaza.
Todo ser humano hijo de Dios, palestino e israelí, merece seguridad y protección. Necesitamos que cese la matanza. Hoy.
La venganza no traerá de vuelta a los muertos. Las represalias no repararán los daños y perjuicios. Estamos llamados a amar incluso, y especialmente, cuando parece imposible.
Debemos impedir que maten a los próximos 10.000. Como episcopales, debemos pedir a nuestros líderes (al presidente Biden, a los miembros del Congreso y a otros) que digan de manera inequívoca que debe cesar la matanza. Hoy. Esto es claramente lo que el amor exige de nosotros.