A Statement from Bishop Stephen T. Lane
To: The people and clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester
Dear Friends in Christ,
The horrific invasion of southern Israel by the forces of Hamas has left us all staggered by the brutality and inhumanity of Hamas’ soldiers. The indiscriminate murder of non-combatants, of men, women, and children who were targeted simply for being Jewish must be condemned in the strongest possible terms and the perpetrators brought to justice. There can be no tolerance for anti-Semitism or for the murder and kidnapping of civilians as a tactic of war. We believe that all life is sacred and that no one should be murdered for simply being who they are. I encourage us to reach out to our Jewish neighbors with expressions of love and support.
It is also essential that the response to the brutality of Hamas and the desire for justice be tempered by a respect for the humanity and dignity of the Palestinian civilians living in the Gaza Strip. There are 2.3 million people living there, over 1 million of them being children and young people under 19. We must encourage Israel and the international community to open a humanitarian corridor for food, water, and medicine as soon as possible. Please encourage your local federal representatives to call for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor.
The Episcopal Church has a longstanding relationship with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, a diocese of the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem has many institutions and schools in Israel and Palestine that serve all comers – Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Of particular concern at this time is Ahli Hospital in the Gaza Strip which is being overwhelmed by the victims of war. Please consider making a donation to American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem at their website www.afedj.org.
As we continue to pray for an end to violence, and for a de-escalation of the conflict, let us also pray for justice for all the residents of Israel and Palestine. May their futures not be filled with daily and escalating violence, but with the possibility of secure and fruitful lives, free from the specter of sudden, violent death. The God whom we all worship expects nothing less.
In the name of the Prince of Peace,
The Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane