For Christians, Advent marks a time of preparation and waiting to celebrate the birth of Jesus, whose coming into the world was proclaimed to shepherds in Bethlehem as “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Scripture tells us that at this announcement, “suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward [people]” (Luke 2:13–14, KJV). How painful then for Palestinian Christians is the decision this week by President Trump to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem? For Palestinians and for all who support a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis, this is anything but joyous good news.

To learn more about what partners are saying, read the Statement on Jerusalem and Status Quo on the World Council of Churches’ website. Messages received from the Patriarchs and Heads of Local Churches in Jerusalem and from the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees are available under Downloads, below.

The United Church of Canada supports Palestinian, Israeli, and U.S. partner calls for the current status quo arrangements in Jerusalem to remain until just negotiations resolve its status. Unilaterally endorsing Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem, which is considered occupied territory under international law, does not advance the possibility of a just and peaceful resolution. The United Nations, the Government of Canada, and The United Church of Canada call for a just and negotiated resolution to the special status of Jerusalem. The international community does not recognize Israel’s claim to all of Jerusalem, the status of which is to be decided through just and fair negotiations.

On December 15, Moderator Jordan Cantwell wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, thanking him for reaffirming Canada’s existing position regarding Jerusalem, and calling on Canada to remain firmly in support of the status quo until just negotiations resolve the status of Jerusalem. The Moderator’s letter is available under Downloads, below.

The United Church of Canada urges all opposed to this action to register their opposition only in peaceful, non-violent ways.

This Advent, please:

  • pray for a just and lasting peace in Palestine and Israel
  • pray and call for courageous leadership that respects and abides by international law
  • pray for and work with all those working to ensure a just and lasting peace in Palestine and Israel