Churches in the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa held services to pray for peace and an end to the war in Israel and Gaza on Oct. 17.

They were responding to a call from the Most Rev. Hosam Naoum, Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, asking Anglicans around the world to observe a day of fasting and prayer for peace, reconciliation and an end to the war.

In his letter to Anglican clergy, Archbishop Naoum, who is also the primate of the ecclesiastical province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, wrote:

“We condemn all acts of violence and killing, especially of civilians and the innocent. And we advocate for a just and comprehensive peace for all living here. In order to stop the vengeful cycle of violence, we exhort everyone to exercise self-control. Since everyone loses in war, we also call for all parties to pursue peaceful, diplomatic solutions towards a just and lasting agreement for both peoples in a two-state solution. Only in this way, can we enjoy freedom, justice and peace.

To this end, we pray without ceasing for justice, reconciliation and peace and an end to hatred and war. We also pray for God to change the hearts of all leaders and decision-makers in our countries and around the world. For we are in dire need of hearts that love, show mercy, and are willing to live in unity with others—hearts that respect human dignity and choose life rather than death.”

The call for prayers and an end to the violence was all the more urgent and poignant in the wake of news that day that the Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza, which is run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, had been hit and devastated by an explosion that killed about 500 people and injured many more.

Archbishop Naoum offered this prayer:

O God of all justice and peace, we cry out to you in the midst of the pain and trauma of violence and fear which prevails in the Holy Land.

Be with those who need you in these days of suffering: we pray for people of all faiths—Jews, Muslims and Christians and for all people of the land.

While we pray to you, O Lord, for an end to violence and the establishment of peace, we also call for you to bring justice and equity to the peoples. Guide us into your kingdom where all people are treated with dignity and honour as your children for, to all of us, you are our Heavenly Father.

In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

 
By LEIGH ANN WILLIAMS 
October 19, 2023

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