Churches address President Obama on the crisis in Syria
United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) leadership have joined ecumenical colleagues in drawing the White House’s renewed attention to the crisis in Syria. The Rev. Geoffrey Black, General Minister and President of the UCC, the Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President of the Disciples, and the Rev. Dr. James Moos and the Rev. Julia Brown Karimu, Co-Executives of Global Ministries, were among twenty-four signatories representing Evangelical, Mainline Protestant, historic Peace churches, and Catholic leaders.
In the letter, they expressed the impact of the crisis on our churches. “We feel deeply the pain of all who are caught in the midst of war…. Already more than 100,000 Syrians have been killed as a result of the war. More than 4 million people have been displaced from their homes within Syria, and an additional 1.7 million Syrians have sought refuge in neighboring countries….”
The letter urges the U.S. administration to continue to support efforts to provide humanitarian relief. “We are grateful for the humanitarian assistance provided thus far by the U.S. government and encourage an ongoing and robust response. … Furthermore, these monies must be in addition to, and not instead of, funding for the ongoing needs of refugees and internally displaced people in other countries.”
It goes on to urge the U.S. to commit to support negotiations to resolve the conflict, “… we urge you to direct your Administration’s full diplomatic energies toward an inclusive, negotiated, political solution that provides a foundation for an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens and for implementing substantive strategies for healing social-psychological and physical wounds.” It also includes a call to avoid further militarization of the crisis, “We urge you to refrain from the provision of military assistance to forces involved in the conflict in Syria. Military involvement will only further escalate an already brutal war and will, in fact, undermine the prospect of negotiations to ensure a just and sustainable future for all Syrians.”
The United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) are active in supporting humanitarian relief efforts through several Middle Eastern partners, and UCC and Disciples members are encouraged to support such work by their contributions to Syria relief through One Great Hour of Sharing and the Week of Compassion.