April 19, 2002
To the Congregations of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA,
As the violence in the Middle East reaches its most dangerous and destructive
level of recent decades, we, members of a church believing in Christ's way of
peace, are called to action. What can we do? MCC West Bank service workers and
Christian Peacemaker Team members are living in Israel/Palestine and sending daily
reports. The MCC Washington and Ottawa offices are closely monitoring the situation
and join us in offering these suggestions. We urge you as individuals, and especially
as congregations, to respond immediately. Here are five suggestions for us as
- Worship Together
- Get informed
- Contribute money and volunteer your time
We are reassured that the Spirit brings our wordless concerns to God. In our
confusion and uncertainty, we can look at peoples faces in the news, or
maps of Israel and Palestine, and ask God to comfort, to hold, to speak to
- Light a candle to keep beside you at work. Each time you see the candle,
be reminded again to hold these people, innocent victims of violence and its
perpetrators, in prayer.
- Subscribe to the MennoLink Peace.news list for frequent prayer requests
from Alain Epp Weaver of MCC West Bank. These are concrete, current requests
that put needs and persons together with the news. To subscribe see
- See the Mennonite Central Committee
web site page on the Middle East crisis for prayers.
- Subscribe to MC Canadas Witness Prayer Net to receive up-to-date reports
and prayer requests from workers in this region.
(2) Worship Together
Worship is where we recognize the sovereignty of God in our lives, above
all other loyalties. To bring our concerns to worship recognizes Gods place
in our lives and the connection between God and all aspects of our lives and
- Create a worship centre in your congregation where people can gather to
pray for the people of Israel/Palestine and for the leaders who are making
life and death decisions. Include photographs, maps, recent writings of MCC
West Bank and CPT Hebron, candles, and crafts from Ten Thousand Villages
made in Israel/Palestine.
- Write and share worship resources with your congregation as a way to bring
your concerns to God. If you create materials you are willing to share,
please send them to SusanML@MennoniteUSA.org
As a missional people aligned with God's purposes in the world, our concern
for God's healing and God's justice calls us to speak on behalf of others.
Because of what we are for--what God is for--we speak out when war and violence
cycle to greater levels. God calls all people and all things to
reconciliation under God's purposes of healing, hope, and restoration. We
choose to join God in that call.
- Please see this web page
- Suggestions below outline points to guide you in writing letters to your
government. Faxes are preferable to e-mail messages, as they are more likely
to be read. Make sure to include your complete mailing address.
- Prime Ministers Office Fax: 613-941-6900 e-mail PM@pm.gc.ca
- Foreign Ministers Office Fax: 613-996-3443 e-mail Graham.B@parl.gc.ca
- your own Member of Parliament e-mail Lastname.Firstinitial@parl.gc.ca
- President George W. Bush Fax: 202-456-2461 e-mail: email@example.com
- Your senator or representative: See advocacy web page (above) or call the
Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121
- Encourage your government to urge all parties to enter immediate
negotiations, lay down their weapons, and end the violence.
- Urge your government to encourage the Palestinian authority to exercise
its influence to stop suicide bombings that cant achieve the peace desired
- Urge your government to encourage the Israeli government to withdraw its
military forces from Palestinian communities and allow the people to bury
their dead, care for their wounded, feed their families, and resume their
- Urge all parties to address not just the symptoms but the roots of the
current violence: namely, the illegal Israeli occupation of lands taken in
the 1967 war, the settlements built on them, and the plight of Palestinian
refugees dating to 1948.
- Other positive steps: insist that Israel release Arafat and not re-occupy
Gaza and the West Bank; support the introduction of unarmed international
monitors; give more visibility to the Arab proposal adopted in Beirut;
support a more significant role for the U.N. in moving toward the vision
outlined in the Arab proposal.
- Encourage governments to build healthy relationships between communities
at home and around the world.
Points for Canadians:
- Thank the Canadian government for its recent statements in support of ending
the violence in the Middle East, withdrawal by Israel from the occupied territories,
and condemnation of the military invasion of Palestinian territories these past
- Urge the Canadian government to exercise its influence to encourage the
Bush Administration to bring both parties to negotiation and to halt the
- Urge the Canadian government to continue to act as a strong partner within
the United Nations and to act as an international partner and presence to
bring stability to this volatile situation.
- Name the occupation of Palestinian territories as illegal under the Fourth
Geneva Convention and in accordance with relevant UN Security Council
resolution 242 & 338, which call on Israeli withdrawal from the occupied
territories in exchange for peace.
- Urge that Canada continue to be an international presence for
Points for U. S. citizens:
- Focus on how the U.S. role is contributing to the spiraling cycle of
violence. The one-sided U.S. approach contributes to the Palestinian sense
of injustice and hopelessness, and is emboldening Israel's military
- Urge President Bush to take an "even-handed" approach in addressing
issue. His repeated endorsement of Prime Minister Sharon's inflammatory
statements and military responses, while denouncing President Arafat and
demanding that he do more, does not create an environment for constructive
- Thank President Bush for sending Colin Powell to the region for meetings
with Arafat and Sharon.
(4) Get informed
We must seek information from our brothers and sisters living in Israel and
Palestine and learn about their religions and worldviews to better understand
- Seek information from these web sites we trust (MC Canada works together with
many of these organizations):
- Gather a group who seeks to learn more and share information.
- Subscribe to MC Canadas Witness
Prayer Net to receive up-to-date reports and prayer requests from workers
in this region.
(5) Contribute time and money
Both Mennonite Central Committee and Christian Peacemaker Teams have people
living and working for peace in Israel/Palestine and accept contributions. Mennonite
Central Committee is providing food. Christian Peacemaker Teams sent an experienced
emergency delegation and needs extra funds to cover expenses.
- Send contributions to
Christian Peacemaker Teams
c/o Mennonite Church Canada
600 Shaftesbury Blvd.
Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
Mennonite Central Committee Canada
134 Plaza Drive
Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
- Set aside a specific daily time to pray, educate yourself, and advocate.
Light a candle in the darkness, beseeching the Prince of Peace,
Susan Mark Landis, Peace Advocate, Mennonite Church USA Executive Board
Leo Hartshorn, Minister of Peace and Justice, Mennonite Mission Network
Marilyn Houser Hamm, Interim Director for Peace and Justice, Mennonite