In response to what he described as the impending humanitarian tragedy unfolding throughout the Holy Land, Presiding Bishop Frank T Griswold issued a “Call to Action,” asking every Episcopal congregation to pray for peace and reconciliation and urging donations to the traditional Good Friday Offering and Episcopal Relief and Development to alleviate a humanitarian crisis.
Writing in Holy Week, Griswold stated that all people are called to respond to human suffering and to prevent tragedy whenever possible.
“As I read and watch news accounts of the deteriorating political situation unfolding in the City of Peace and throughout the Holy Land, I am fearful that an impending humanitarian tragedy is also unfolding. Regardless of one’s political views, we are all called to respond to human suffering, and to take all necessary measures to alleviate and prevent any tragedy wherever possible.
“I direct a plea to both the relevant government bodies of the world and to our church membership. To the governments, particularly the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia, I ask that all necessary aid be made available through non-government, and where possible, through government structures in such sufficient measure that all hospitals, schools and food supplies be adequately supported.
“I would say further that humanitarian aid should include support of both economic development and peacemaking efforts. A breakdown of the infrastructure of Palestinian society at this moment can only lead to chaos, lawlessness and deep suffering. Unilateral action does not lead to reconciliation.
“I pray that the leaders of the Israelis and the Palestinians, including Hamas, which now is called to responsible governance, will temper politics with compassion and turn from actions that do harm to policies that place the welfare of the human community above partisan concerns and grievances,” Griswold wrote.