A letter on the Middle East crisis from the President of WARC

World Alliance of Reformed Churches
20 July 2006

Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick, President of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA), has sent the following letter to partner churches in Lebanon offering prayer and support at this time of escalating violence in the Middle East.

World Alliance of Reformed Churches
20 July 2006

Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick, President of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA), has sent the following letter to partner churches in Lebanon offering prayer and support at this time of escalating violence in the Middle East.

Office of the General Assembly
Clifton Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk

Office of the President
World Alliance of Reformed Churches

Dear Partners and Friends:

It is with great anxiety and distress that we hear the news of continuing acts of hostility and violence being exchanged across the Southern Lebanese border, and of the repeated harsh and disproportionate retaliatory attacks on the country of Lebanon. The severe loss of life among innocent civilians and the massive destruction of infrastructures and blockage of access weigh very heavily on our hearts and minds. In anger and frustration we have cried out, "O Lord, how long?" Yet with hope, in the midst of this devastation, we also look to God for mercy. We pray that God, whose will is peace, may breathe God's Spirit of calm on all his warring children.

On behalf of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), I write to assure you that you especially are very present in our thoughts and our prayers. Our offices have been receiving many inquiries from our church members and our regional offices about your safety and well-being. We want you to know that we stand in solidarity with you in our common witness to the love of God for all people, and in our common commitment to peacemaking. I also extend to you in my capacity as president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches the prayers for peace and concerns for your well-being from Reformed Christians all over the world.

To that end, we communicated earlier with Israeli and Palestinian government officials, calling upon them to reject violence and return to peace negotiations. We have also requested our own government to press for a cessation of hostility and to intervene for a return to the peace process and a just end to the occupation of Palestinian territories. For our part, our recent General Assembly reaffirmed our commitment to pursue peace together with like-minded groups * Christians, Muslims, and Jews; Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians. I recently extended to leaders of the American Jewish community an invitation and a challenge to come and meet with us to plan how we can work together for a just peace in the Middle East.

All the while, we sincerely wish you to know that our church, with its deep and intimate history of nearly two centuries of relations with the peoples of your region, and with an abiding sense of fellowship with you all, will continue to lift and uphold you near to the heart of God. We look forward to a continuing dynamic engagement with you in witnessing and working for peace with justice for all.

Faithfully yours,
Clifton Kirkpatrick


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The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) brings together 75 million Reformed Christians in 218 churches in 107 countries * united in their commitment to making a difference in a troubled world. The WARC general secretary is Rev. Dr. Setri Nyomi of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana. WARC's secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland.  Web: www.warc.ch