We deeply grieve the pain and fear caused by the loss of lives in Palestine and Israel since October 7, 2023. We cry from the depths of our souls, knowing that 4 out of 10 of these deaths are children, like the ones Jesus called to his knee. We recognize that the story of this tragedy is connected to a long history of suffering that many of us cannot comprehend but must continue to work at understanding.
We lament with those in our congregations who have deep roots in the affected areas and repent of our complicity as Americans who have heard their cries of agony.
As Mennonites and followers in the way of Jesus, we believe:
- Jesus teaches us a way of peace through his life, death and resurrection.
- Jesus calls us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
- Jesus sends us out to share God’s good news of liberating love.
As a denomination committed to standing against violence in all forms, we understand that military force will not bring peace and respond with condemnation.
- We condemn the violence carried out by Hamas and by the Israeli military, causing harm to both Palestinians and Israelis. Yet, we empathize with the multi-generational trauma that led them to this terrible moment. Jesus said, “You have heard it said, ‘do not murder’, but I say to you that everyone who is angry with sister or brother is subject to judgment.” Matthew 5:21-22
- We condemn the withholding of humanitarian aid in Gaza, which includes food, water, fuel for generators and water treatment, and medical supplies. Scripture says, “Do not mistreat the foreigner … love them as you would love yourself, for you too were a foreigner in the land of Egypt.” Leviticus 19:33-34
- We condemn the dehumanization of our enemies. Jesus said, “…When I was in prison, you visited me.” Matthew 25:36
We cry out.
We will not be silent. We urge everyone to join their voices with ours as we call for peace.
- We call for an immediate ceasefire, for the sake of human life, for the sake of all those beloveds who are made in the image and likeness of the divine. Scripture says, “Humankind was created as God’s reflection: in the divine image God created them; female and male, God made them.” Genesis 1:27
- We call for an acceleration of humanitarian aid that meets the immediate nutritional and medical needs of the 2.2 million Palestinians trapped in Gaza. We urge everyone to support a resolution for an immediate ceasefire that includes a way to ensure humanitarian aid access and the protection of civilians as a first step. There must be a safe path for civilians to access basic needs such as water, shelter, food, medicine and fuel. Jesus said, “When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink.” Matthew 25:35
- We call for a just resolution for both Israelis and Palestinians. Scripture says, “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14
We pray for peace.
We acknowledge both the humanity and trauma of all and recognize that a solution requires a comprehensive peace process that strengthens the work of those already working to build bridges and find a just peace.
We pray for the vision of peace of Micah, that “everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken.” Micah 4:4