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General News and Announcements

United Church Statement on the Situation in Syria

22 February 2012

Guide our feet into the way of peace

Luke 1:79

The United Church of Canada joins the concerted Christian voice in calling for just peace in all parts of this broken, hurting world, and especially at this time, in Syria.

The United Church of Canada has expressed its deep concern and solidarity for the people of Syria to its partner in the region, The Middle East Council of Churches. We mourn the tragic loss of so many lives, and the trauma and suffering inflicted on Syrian citizens and on the thousands of refugees from across the region hosted in Syria.

As violence continues to claim lives, churches in Syria have appealed for calm, for an end to the use of any type of violence whether by government forces or armed resistance, and for a national dialogue to resolve the conflict.

Syrian Christians, indigenous to Syrian society, are an integral part of its rich social, economic, cultural, political, and religious diversity. The Middle East Council of Churches and its member churches have deep roots in Syria and in the region. Through its partnership with the Middle East Council of Churches, The United Church of Canada affirms its solidarity with the Syrian churches and people of good will working through non-violent actions to promote respect for human dignity, life, and civic rights. In its 1994 Peace Policy, The United Church of Canada stated its conviction that such conflicts "can only be resolved by dealing with the root causes of the conflicts between the [warring parties], and that outside military intervention only drives the conflicts underground." We call on government and military forces in Syria to end the violent repression, and to dialogue with movements seeking democracy and freedom.

The United Church of Canada speaks on issues of concern primarily where it works in direct partnership. We seek to live out our commitment to mutuality and respect in our partner relationships. In situations where we have partners on the ground, we first consult with them, seeking their wisdom with respect to their own context. Recognizing that members of the Middle East Council of Churches in Syria are more knowledgeable and informed about the current situation in their country than those outside, the United Church continues to seek their guidance on how we can best respond in accompaniment and solidarity with those affected by the ongoing violence.

The United Church of Canada echoes the appeal of the Middle East Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches for an immediate end to the violence in Syria. Through ACT Alliance, a global alliance of churches providing humanitarian relief and development assistance, the United Church will support efforts to respond to the humanitarian situation in Syria, particularly for refugees and internally displaced peoples.

We pray for God's peace for the people of Syria; a peace the world cannot bring. We pray also that God will grant them strength, now and in the days to come. And may the hearts and minds of those in power in Syria and in the international community be opened to truly seek justice and lasting peace for all.

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