Churches for Middle East Peace, an ecumenical policy advocacy coalition formed in 1984 with more than 30 member organizations in the U.S., including the Christian Reformed Church in North America, has been releasing regular statements since the October 7 Hamas attacks and the subsequent military response by Israel.
Fearing “catastrophic deaths of civilians in Gaza,” its Oct. 26 release called for an end to the war citing death tolls from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the difficulty in delivering humanitarian aid. “The humanitarian aid that has arrived in Gaza so far addresses a miniscule fraction of the need, and the blockade is strangling the humanitarian efforts that are in place,” Churches for Middle East Peace said.
Zachary King, general secretary of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, published a statement soon after the war began. In the Oct. 11 website post King said, “In line with the decisions of Synod on Just War and the Christian calling to peacemaking, I would like to urge all Christian Reformed people to join me in praying for peace in Gaza, Israel, the Middle East, and around the world. Pray that those in positions of power will exercise restraint, especially for the sake of civilians caught up in this cycle of violence.”
He offered a prayer based on Psalm 85 and linked to an Oct. 9 statement from the Churches for Middle East Peace for “those who wish to learn more about the situation and actions that North Americans can take.”
“We are grieved by the war between Israel and Hamas,” Churches for Middle East Peace said on its website.” There is still work to do for peace and justice. We believe that working together: justice can prevail. Peace is possible.”