Letter to President Obama Urging Bold, Concrete, and Immediate Action for Peace

June 27, 2011

Dear Mr. President,

As Christian leaders we strongly support your May 19 call for progress in bringing about an agreement to end the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. You made important and helpful proposals concerning the issues of borders and security as a basis for negotiations. 

Visible additional steps by you and your Administration are needed now more than ever to keep the parties focused on making concrete progress.  We are deeply concerned that without further U.S. initiatives, together with the international community, the current impasse will continue and further violence could make an acceptable agreement harder to achieve.

Time is not on the side of peace; therefore, we believe your next step should be a comprehensive statement in collaboration with the Middle East Quartet and others, prior to the beginning of the UN General Assembly this fall, that addresses all final status issues, including the need for Jerusalem in the future to be the shared capital of both states, a just resolution to the issue of all refugees, and assured access for all faiths to their holy places. 

With a clear path toward a solution and broad international support, the parties involved will be better able to overcome their fears and mistrust in order to focus on how to achieve a lasting resolution to this conflict.  Only then can a secure and democratic Israel and a viable Palestinian state be assured. 

There are of course other concerns, but they should not be allowed to interfere with making real progress towards an agreement on borders, security, Jerusalem and refugees.  

Like Jesus’ parable about the persistent widow who kept on demanding justice over and again until justice was received (Luke 18:1-8), we hope that you will keep insisting over and again that all parties keep up the hard work of reconciliation until a just and lasting peace is achieved.

Sincerely yours,

108

Raúl B. Alegría
President              
MARCHA (Methodist Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic Americans)

Dr. Jimmy R. Allen
Chairman, New Baptist Covenant and
Chaplain Emeritus, Big Canoe Chapel

Father Mark Arey                               
Ecumenical Officer            
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Archbishop Vicken Aykazian
Armenian Orthodox Church of North America

Dr. Ray Bakke
Chancellor           
Bakke Graduate University

Rev. Geoffrey Black                            
General Minister and President      
United Church of Christ

J. Ron Byler
Executive Director
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.

Dr. Tony Campolo                               
Professor Emeritus of Sociology     
Eastern University, St. Davids, PA

Very Rev. Thomas Cassidy, SCJ
President              
Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men's Institutes

Rev. Canon Peg Chemberlin                             
President              
National Council of Churches

Shan Cretin                          
General Secretary               
American Friends Service Committee

Rev. Paula Clayton Dempsey
Minister for Partnership Relations
Alliance of Baptists

Marie Dennis       
Director
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Sr. Donna Graham, OSF
Franciscan Friars (OFM) English Speaking Conference

Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson                  
General Secretary               
Reformed Church in America

Rev. David Gutherie                           
President of Moravian Provincial Elders Conference
Moravian Church in America, Southern Province

Ken Hackett
President
Catholic Relief Services

The Rev. Mark S. Hanson                   
Presiding Bishop, Former President               
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Lutheran World Federation

Most Rev. Howard J. Hubbard                          
Bishop of Albany
Committee on International Justice and Peace
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Sr. Mary Hughes, OP
President
Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Bill Hybels
Senior Pastor
Willow Creek Community Church

Lynne Hybels
Author
Willow Creek Community Church

The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate         
The Episcopal Church

His Beatitude Jonah, Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada     
Orthodox Church in America

His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim
Archbishop of the Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church
 in the Eastern United States

Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon
General Secretary               
National Council of Churches

His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick
Catholic Archbishop Emeritus of Washington

Reverend John L. McCullough
Executive Director and CEO              
Church World Service

Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley                      
General Secretary               
American Baptist Churches

Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller
President, Provincial Elders' Conference
Moravian Church in America, Northern Province

Richard J. Mouw, Ph.D.                      
President              
Fuller Theological Seminary

Stanley J. Noffsinger                          
General Secretary               
Church of the Brethren

Harriett Jane Olson
Deputy General Secretary, the Women’s Division of General Board of Global Ministries
The United Methodist Church

Rev. Gradye Parsons                          
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly            
Presbyterian Church, (USA)

The Most Reverend Metropolitan Philip       
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America            
Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

Reverend Tyrone Pitts      
General Secretary Emeritus              
Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.

Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Radar                   
Ecumenical Officer, Council of Bishops        
United Methodist Church

Diane Randall                       
Executive Secretary            
Friends Committee on National Legislation

Bob Roberts, Jr.
Pastor
NorthWood Church, Keller, Texas

Leonard Rodgers                   
Executive Director              
Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding

Ron Sider                              
President              
Evangelicals for Social Action

Dr. T. DeWitt Smith Jr.                   
Immediate Former President           
Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.

Rev. Dr. Sharon E. Watkins               
General Minister and President      
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Bishop John F. White                         
Ecumenical and Urban Affairs Officer           
African Methodist Episcopal Church

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Letter to the President 27 June 2011 FINAL C.pdf80.84 KB