In Synod News

ELCA Conference of Bishops calls for permanent bilateral cease-fire in Gaza

Earlier this month, the ELCA Conference of Bishops joined a growing list of faith leaders calling for a permanent bilateral ceasefire in Gaza. The statement reads in part:

“We are compelled to advocate, pray, and act by the social teachings of our denomination and by our belief—rooted in Scripture—that all people are made in the image of God. 

“We mourn the loss of 1,200 precious lives in Israel on Oct. 7 by the actions of Hamas and the trauma for those 250 others who were taken hostage. We mourn the loss of over 30,000 precious lives in Gaza—including tens of thousands of women and children—who have died in Israel’s military action since then and the trauma that ripples outward from this loss. We grieve the deaths of more than 400 Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel since Oct. 7 as the circle of violence expands and makes casualties of yet more civilians.

Too many have suffered. Too many lives have been lost. Strong U.S. leadership is needed to help bring a comprehensive permanent cease-fire and lasting peace…”

Read the full statement here. The Conference of Bishops also sent a letter to President Joe Biden calling for a permanent bilateral cease-fire in Gaza and urging the president and legislators “to do everything in their power to end the current suffering and lay the foundation for lasting peace with justice.”

In response, Bishop Dr. Sani Ibrahim Azar, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, thanked the Conference of Bishops for “follow[ing] your Christian calling to be peacemakers by coming together in agreement that the violence in Gaza and in this land we call holy must end, so that all people can live in safety and peace.” You can read the full letter here.

We encourage members of the South Dakota Synod to pray for the people of the Middle East and a lasting and permanent peace in the Holy Land. If you would like to support the work of Lutheran Disaster Response in the region, you can do so here.