To: All Members of the Anglican Church of Melanesia Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia
From: The Most Rev. Leonard Dawea Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of Melanesia
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Over the last few weeks, we have been following the inhumane atrocities in the Holy Land as a result of the war in Gaza and the whole of the Holy Land. As part of the Body of Christ connected to this very Land, our hearts have been so painful to witness the cause of evil on our beloved brethren.
As members of the one Body of Christ, we share their experiences of pain and sorrow since the beginning of the war. There is not much we can do to support them physically because of the distance, but as Christians who believe in the power of prayer, we are called to hold our brothers and sisters in our daily prayers. By our faith and the power of the collective prayers of all Christians around the world, God, who grieves over human evil actions, will bring cessation to the war and restoration of peace.
Aside from our daily personal prayers for the cessation of war and restoration of peace, I have appointed Sunday 29 October 2023 as our Provincial Day of Prayer for brothers and sisters in the Holy Land. I call upon the Dioceses, institutions, parishes/districts, and families to observe this day of prayer for our families in the Holy Land. Pray particularly for the Archbishop of Jerusalem, the Most Rev Hosam Naoum and his family, the Patriarchs, and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Bishops, clergy, and those leading the services and intercessions on that day must specifically pray for the situation in the Holy Land.
A statement issued by the Church Leaders in Jerusalem said, “Our beloved Holy Land has changed dramatically over the past week. We are witnessing a new cycle of violence with unjustifiable attacks against all civilians. Tensions continue to rise and more innocent and vulnerable people are paying the ultimate price as the dramatic level and death and destruction in Gaza clearly shows.”
They added: “In support of all those who have suffered in this war and of all the families reeling from the violence, we call upon the people of our congregations and all those of goodwill around the world to observe a Day of Prayer.”
In a follow-up statement, Archbishop Hosam Naoum said: “We pray without ceasing for justice, reconciliation, peace, and an end to hatred and war. We also pray for God to change the hearts of all leaders and decision-makers in our countries and around the world. For we are in dire need of hearts that love, show mercy, and are willing to live in unity with others – hearts that respect human dignity and choose life rather than death.”
Additionally, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion calls on all Provincial Churches to pray for peaceful solutions saying, “I echo his (Archbishop Hosam) call for political leaders in the region to pursue peaceful and diplomatic solutions towards a just and lasting agreement for a two-state solution, and realization of the dream of both Israelis and Palestinians to enjoy living in freedom. Justice and peace.”
The quotations above describe the desperation, inhumane suffering, pain, and death and a cry of our own for our prayers. Obviously, the images of wreckage, death, and thick smoke from the scenes on the news items have held us captive to grieving as they penetrate the agony and needs of our brethren directly into our hearts.
I call on all Christians throughout the Anglican Church of Melanesia to join hands, hearts, and spirits in raising the situations in the Holy Land in our prayers to the Almighty God.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 4: 6-7.
The Most Rev. Leonard Dawea Archbishop and Bishop of DOCM Anglican Church of Melanesia