The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Bishop Anthony Poggo, has called on Anglicans around the world to join a global ecumenical day of prayer and fasting tomorrow – Tuesday 17 October – in response to the ongoing conflict in the Holy Land.
The call for 17 October to be spent in prayer and fasting as made by the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem – the leading ecumenical group representing senior Christian leaders in the region, including the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, Archbishop Hosam Naoum.
In a statement, the Church leaders said: “our beloved Holy Land has changed dramatically over the past week. We are witnessing a new cycle of violence with an unjustifiable attack against all civilians. Tensions continue to rise and more innocent and vulnerable people are paying the ultimate price as the dramatic level and death and destruction in Gaza clearly show.”
They added: “in support of all those who have suffered in this war and of all the families reeling from the violence, we call upon the people of our congregations and all those of goodwill around the world to observe a Day of Prayer and Fasting on Tuesday, October 17th.”
In a follow-up statement, Archbishop Hosam Naoum said: “we pray without ceasing for justice, reconciliation, 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 or 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.
“We therefore all upon all our congregations, institutions, and parishioner families to join with our sister Churches in the Land of the Holy One In observing this coming Tuesday, October 17th as a day or Fasting and Prayer for peace, reconciliation, and an end to the war. We suggest organising prayer services and / or joining with other congregations in their services so that we can pray together with one heart and spirit.”
Today (Monday), the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Bishop Anthony Poggo, called on Anglicans around the world to accept the call to prayer and fasting tomorrow, saying: “Archbishop Hosam, and his ecumenical colleagues in the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches group, are in the front line of the Christian response to the ongoing catastrophe in Israel and the Gaza strip.
“I join them in calling on Christians around the world to join together in prayer and fasting on Tuesday 17 October, in the words of Archbishop Hosam, “for justice, reconciliation, peace, and an end to hatred and war.
“I also echo his call for political leaders in the region to pursue peaceful and diplomatic solutions towards achieving a just and lasting agreement for a two-state solution, and the realisation of the dream of both Israelis and Palestinians to enjoy living in freedom, Justice, and peace.”
The call was echoed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. “As Christians our first action in the face of war, terror and hatred is to pray to the God of justice, mercy and peace,” he said. “Tomorrow I invite Anglicans around the world to join the Church in the Holy Land in fasting and prayer for all the people of that land.”
The Anglican Communion is an international family of 42 regional, national and pan-national autonomous and independent-yet-interdependent churches in more than 165 countries. Its international secretariat is based at the Anglican Communion Office (ACO) in Notting Hill, west London, where staff will tomorrow mark the day during the weekly Eucharist service at the ACO’s Saint Andrew’s Chapel.