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Prayers for Peace

Dear Friends,

Over the weekend, the world was shocked and grief-stricken to see the attacks in Israel on unarmed civilians, resulting in many deaths and numerous hostages. Here in the US, I know that many Jews and others were deeply grieved and traumatized by the deaths and the graphic violence shown in videos of the victims, as well as videos of people around the world celebrating the violence that occurred.

The situation in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza is deeply complex, as all acknowledge, and a peaceful solution to generations of conflict seems very far away. But there is no excuse for terrorist acts against civilians, and we must offer our prayers for civilians held captive and innocent people in danger in this broadening conflict.

As Christians, we are also aware of the increasing tide of anti-Semitism that our Jewish neighbors face here in the US, with Americans openly flaunting neo-Nazi symbols, frequent threats of violence against Jewish houses of worship, and a rising threat of Christian nationalism that marginalizes people of other faiths. Our country was founded on the principle of freedom of religion, and our neighbors of all faiths must be free to live and worship in peace. The current wave of violence evokes horrifying memories of centuries of violence against Jewish people. For those who are grieving the violence, we must offer our support and understanding. Your Jewish friends are suffering – please offer them your prayers and support.

Throughout the world, we must pray for long-term peace in the Middle East. The Episcopal Church has long supported a two-state solution to the conflict in which a secure and universally recognized State of Israel lives alongside a free, viable, and secure state for the Palestinian people. As we face renewed violence and conflict in the Holy Land that is sacred to all three Abrahamic faiths, we pray for peace. I ask you to join me in prayer for an end to this conflict:

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, all people may live in justice and peace. We pray now for peace among the nations, and especially for the people of Israel and Palestine. Guide us all into the way of justice and truth, and establish among us that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that all people may live and flourish in the world you have created. All this we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  

In Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Susan Brown Snook

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11 replies to “Prayers for Peace

  1. Susan Jester | on October 11, 2023

    AWESOME thoughtful prayerful appropriate response . Thank you for your leadership and voice! We pray for peace and our Bishop!

  2. Willy Crespo | on October 11, 2023

    Thank you Bishop for your sensitive response to the tragedy that is taking place in Israel. It is indeed complex and for anyone to arbitrarily take one side over the other keeps this binary. I am so proud our church seeks a two. state solution. From the beginning the two state solution offers the only opportunity to find the future path together. I pray for the terrible death of innocents during the weekend and over the many years this conflict has been going on. Thank you for your leadership and sensitive guidance.

  3. LORA MCCAMMOND | on October 11, 2023

    Thank you Bishop.

    I stand in agreement with your prayer. Praying for peace in the Middle East, for protection, healing, comfort, mercy and grace over the people there and throughout the world. May our hearts be turned toward our Creator, may we be the hands and feet of our Lord Jesus Christ during this time. May we walk in love, may we be our brother’s keeper. In the Holy and matchless name of Jesus.

  4. Andrew Horne | on October 11, 2023

    I am a parishioner at St. Bart’s in Poway and have been disappointed by the silence from clergy and vestry. Also, very disappointed by lack of moral leadership by the national church.

    Thank you for being willing to be a leader.

  5. sandra bedard | on October 11, 2023

    Thank you for your words and for the prayer that I will say on Friday when our ECW group meets.

  6. Gayle Guglielmo | on October 12, 2023

    Thank you Bishop Susan for your heartfelt words. Of course, we are all praying for the victims of this ‘”New Holocaust”. And it is a holocaust—Hamas and all the other terrorist groups are no longer interested in Palestinian State——Their sworn purpose is to KILL ALL JEWS. They must be stopped, but these attacks are too scattered from every direction. Prayers for the victims and the leaders of the surrounding countries for peaceful, deliberate negotiations.

  7. Susan Fancher, St. Michael's | on October 13, 2023

    Thank you so much for your caring thoughts & prayers.
    They are of great support to all of us, as are YOU.
    God is our ONLY TRUE leader & MUST be honored to save the world.

  8. Cynthia Webb | on October 13, 2023

    Cynthia Webb
    Oct 12
    I think the treatment of the Palestinians by Isreal’s leadership is abhorrent – Washington Post Opinion piece today by Yuval Noah Harari is the author of “Sapiens,” “Homo Deus” and “Unstoppable Us” and a professor of history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In Part – “On one level, Israelis are paying the price for years of hubris, during which our governments and many ordinary Israelis felt we were so much stronger than the Palestinians, that we could just ignore them. There is much to criticize about the way Israel has abandoned the attempt to make peace with the Palestinians and has held for decades millions of Palestinians under occupation.

    But this does not justify the atrocities committed by Hamas, which in any case has never countenanced any possibility for a peace treaty with Israel and has done everything in its power to sabotage the Oslo peace process. Anyone who wants peace must condemn and impose sanctions on Hamas and demand the immediate release of all hostages and Hamas’s complete disarmament.

    Moreover, irrespective of how much blame one ascribes to Israel, this does not explain the dysfunction of the state. History isn’t a morality tale.

    The real explanation for Israel’s dysfunction is populism rather than any alleged immorality. For many years, Israel has been governed by a populist strongman, Benjamin Netanyahu, who is a public-relations genius but an incompetent prime minister. He has repeatedly preferred his personal interests over the national interest and has built his career on dividing the nation against itself. He has appointed people to key positions based on loyalty more than qualifications, took credit for every success while never taking responsibility for failures, and seemed to give little importance to either telling or hearing the truth.

    The coalition Netanyahu established in December 2022 has been by far the worst. It is an alliance of messianic zealots and shameless opportunists, who ignored Israel’s many problems — including the deteriorating security situation — and focused instead on grabbing unlimited power for themselves. In pursuit of this goal, they adopted extremely divisive policies, spread outrageous conspiracy theories about state institutions that oppose their policies, and labeled the country’s serving elites as “deep state” traitors.” –

  9. Cheryl Saremi | on October 13, 2023

    Dear Bishop Snook, as a new parishioner, at Saint Barts, I find your sentiments so comforting in this time of turmoil. The complex issues culminating from decades of prejudice and politics are challenging to comprehend. Thank you for offering this prayer which brings a little peace of mind when one feels so helpless. Sincerely, Cheryl Saremi.

  10. Frank Gasque Dunn | on October 13, 2023

    Bishop Snook,

    Thank you for your prompt and clear letter calling us to awareness and response to the current situation of violence.

    I would only add one thing, of which many Americans, indeed many Episcopalians are not aware. The Anglican presence in Israel and Palestine is ancient, important and fragile. The Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East is one of the most hopeful agents for peace that exists in a very fractured and contentious scene. Many clergy and lay people have been hosted and nourished by the people of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem over the years. I am hopeful that those of us with ties will reach out to our friends in the Holy Land, friends of all faiths. And I’m hopeful that you and other bishops will continue to make us aware of our deep connection through the Church that provides us with more than an abstract presence there.

    The Rev. Frank G.Dunn, D. Min.
    Cathedral City

  11. Sam | on October 15, 2023

    Most appreciative for your thoughtful comments. Adding the prayer to daily meditations. Blessings Bishop Susan Brown Snook

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