Christian Leaders Letter to President Obama Urging a New Beginning for Peace (January 7, 2013)

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

The goal of a just peace among Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians has eluded leaders in the Middle East and in the U.S. for more than a generation. As you embark upon your second term, there is an unprecedented opportunity for your Administration to play a catalytic role in the resolution of this conflict.  As faith leaders deeply committed to peace and reconciliation in this land held sacred by so many, we write to ask that you now bring the full energies of your Administration to bear toward facilitating a just, durable, and final negotiated agreement to end the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

We understand the difficulty and cost of undertaking this effort. There are groups on both sides that oppose any agreement. The losses Palestinians have experienced since the Oslo Accords were signed nearly twenty years ago have deeply marred trust and made many despair for the possibility of negotiations ever producing an acceptable outcome. Israelis fear that that the losses they may face in negotiations could undermine the existence and security of their state in future generations.

Your own Administration experienced the costly challenges of working toward peacemaking during your first term, but another generation cannot wait as prospects for peace grow dimmer. The U.S. should place the full weight of its support behind the long-term well-being of Israelis and Palestinians. Proposals put forward must be feasible and convincingly address their separate national aspirations for security and justice.  

American political leadership is needed now more than ever to support both Israelis and Palestinians in creating a resilient and just peace. Conversely, the consequences of maintaining the status quo, while events further complicate the feasibility of a two-state solution, may perpetuate the conflict for generations to come.

Mr. President, we recognize the awesome burdens you carry for the welfare and fate of so many people at home and abroad. We pray that you will be given courage, patience, and wisdom for your decisions in this and in all other matters.

Respectfully,

Fr. Mark Arey                           
Ecumenical Officer                       
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Dr. Carroll A. Baltimore, Sr.
President
Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.

The Most Rev. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian
Primate
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)

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

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

Shan Cretin
General Secretary
American Friends Service Committee

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

Rev. Tom De Vries
General Secretary
Reformed Church in America

Very Rev. John Edmunds, ST.
President
Conference of Major Superiors of Men’s Institutes       

Rev. David Emmanuel Goatley
Executive Secretary
Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention

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

Mark S. Hanson
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Very Rev. John Hardin, OFM
President
Franciscan Friars (OFM) English Speaking Conference    

Dr. Joel C. Hunter
Senior Pastor
Northland - A Church Distributed

Archbishop Cyril Aphrem Karim
Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox
Church of Antioch for the Eastern USA

Kathryn Mary Lohre
President
National Council of Churches – USA               

Rev. John McCullough
President and CEO
Church World Service

Kathy McNeely                      
Director                          
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns              

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

Janet Mock, CSJ                      
Executive Director                                 
Leadership Conference of Women Religious           

Rev. Peter Morales
President
Unitarian Universalist Association

Richard J. Mouw, PhD                 
President                          
Fuller Theological Seminary                   

Stanley J. Noffsinger
General Secretary
Church of the Brethren   

Harriett Jane Olson
General Secretary and CEO
United Methodist Women                   

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

Bishop Richard E. Pates
Chairman, Committee on International Justice and Peace  
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops               

Metropolitan Philip
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

Diane Randall
Executive Secretary
Friends Committee on National Legislation       

Bob Roberts
Senior Pastor
NorthWood Church

Leonard Rodgers
Director
Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding           

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop
The Episcopal Church

Dr. Julius R. Scruggs
President
National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.               

Ronald J. Sider
President
Evangelicals for Social Action

Jim Wallis
CEO
Sojourners                           

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

Bishop Rosemarie Wenner
President, Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church

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