March 2024 Global Christian Leaders Call for Permanent Gaza Ceasefire

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 26, 2024

CONTACT:
Logan Bayroff, West End Strategy Team
lbayroff@westendstrategy.com 516-965-5159

In New Letter, 140+ Global Christian Leaders Call for Permanent Gaza Ceasefire, Halt of Arms Sales to Israel

In a new letter released during Holy Week ahead of Easter, more than 140 Bishops and executive leaders from churches, denominations, and church-based organizations in the US and around the world call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, urge the US and other world powers to halt additional arms sales to Israel, and make clear that Israel, the US, and all countries must abide by Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The letters’ signers include a US Catholic Bishop, a Catholic Cardinal, the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, an Anglican Dean, and many other notable figures from a wide range of churches, including Catholic, Lutheran, Mennonite, Quaker, and Evangelical leaders. 


March 26, 2024

As Christians around the world prepare to commemorate the final suffering in the earthly life of Jesus Christ during Holy Week, we stand in solidarity with all in the Holy Land who suffer. During Passion Week, Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox alike engage in prayer, reflection, and repentance. We repent of the ways we have not stood alongside our Palestinian siblings in faithful witness in the midst of their grief, agony, and sorrow. Christian witness and engagement with the world must be marked by faithfulness to God, love of neighbor, and mercy toward those who are suffering and in need. For the Holy Scriptures teach, “Uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.” (Psalm 82:3). 

As the ongoing devastation, bombing, and ground invasion in Gaza continue into their sixth month, Palestinians, including our Palestinian Christian siblings, cry out to the world, asking, “Where are you?” World leaders have responded with empty rhetoric and political volleying about addressing the “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza while ignoring the direct causes of the catastrophe. Those causes are the daily bombing and ground invasion by the Israeli military, in addition to the shutting off of basic life-sustaining services to more than two million people who are suffering the consequences of crimes not their own.

As of March 25, 2024, at least 32,333 people in Gaza have been killed, and more than 74,694 have been injured, the vast majority of them women and children. Gaza has been declared one of the most dangerous places in the world to live, where no place is safeaccording to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The World Health Organization (WHO) describes the situation as desperate, as children are dying from hunger and dehydration. The WHO reports that 15 percent of children under the age of two in northern Gaza show signs of wasting, suggesting a serious and rapid decline over just a few months, which is unprecedented globally. The horrific actions Hamas committed on October 7th in no way justify the massive deaths of tens of thousands of civilians in Gaza at the hands of the Israeli military.

The average number of people killed every day in Gaza is just under two hundred people a day, with roughly one person dying every eight minutes. The slaughter continues every day even as more and more men, women, and children are pulled out from underneath the rubble, and more than 1.8 million people remain displaced. As of late January, reports indicate more than half of Gaza’s buildings have been damaged or destroyed. All of this compounds the devastation that Palestinians have experienced during Israel’s 16+ year blockade of Gaza and the occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza since 1967. 

Palestinians, South Africans, and experts around the world have said what is happening in Gaza is nothing less than a genocide. South Africa asserted that the Israeli government engaged in action with “genocidal intent” in its complaint at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The ICJ’s preliminary ruling found itplausible that Israel’s acts [in Gaza] could amount to genocideand issued provisional measures to seek to prevent further deaths. By the end of February, human rights groups around the world asserted Israel had already violated the ICJ ruling by intentionally limiting humanitarian assistance to Gaza. The global church—and world—cannot be silent as people continue to die in Gaza by military assault, lack of adequate medical care, hunger, and disease. 

The U.S., the U.K., Israel, and other countries must uphold their responsibility as signatories to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The United States and other nations’ further militarization of the conflict makes no one safer and instead prolongs suffering and causes more death and destruction. We call on the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and France to join the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, and Japan to halt additional military support and arms to Israel and not be complicit in the ongoing military campaign that is having such devastating effects on civilians in Gaza. 

We say, “Enough killing!” and together demand a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire. 

On October 7th, Hamas attacked southern Israel and killed approximately 1,200 Israelis and internationals, and took more than 240 people hostage in Gaza. We have been clear in our condemnation of these actions of Hamas, which were an atrocious crime. It is believed 100 hostages or more could still be held captive in Gaza. We have consistently called for the remaining hostages to be returned home to their families. 

We, as global Christian leaders, stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ in Palestine and around the world and say the killing must stop, and the violence must be brought to an end. We ask world leaders to exercise strong moral courage to bring an immediate end to the violence and to open a pathway toward peace and an end to the conflict. We call for a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire where all combatants lay down their weapons and Israeli hostages and Palestinian political prisoners held without the due process of law are released. Immediate and adequate humanitarian assistance must be provided for the more than two million Palestinian people in Gaza who have such desperate needs. We support efforts toward a negotiated settlement that addresses the core causes of the current crisis and brings an end to the decades-long violations of the rights of the Palestinian people in accordance with international law, such solutions must advance security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians. As we prepare for Holy Week, we lament and pray for comfort for all who have lost loved ones over the past months in Gaza, East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Israel. We know that Jesus himself was among those who suffered, and he comforted the brokenhearted. We say, “Enough atrocities in Gaza; enough violence, death, and destruction! May love triumph over hate.” We hold onto the hope that peace is possible even in the midst of this darkest hour. 

Sister Rosemarie Abate
Secretary
Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary

Joyce Ajlouny
General Secretary 
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) 

Christine Allen
Director 
Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD)

Rev. Dr. Alex Awad
Board Member
Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP)

Archbishop Vicken Aykazian
Ecumenical Director and Diocesan Legate Diocese 
Armenian Church of America, Eastern

Marvin Barnes 
Presiding Clerk 
Friends General Conference

Rev. Dr. Bonnie Bates
Conference Minister, Penn Northeast Conference 
United Church of Christ (UCC)

Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton
President of the Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church

Sister Barbara Brigham
Medical Mission Sisters, Justice Office

Sr. Danielle Bonetti
Coordinator of Justice Ministries
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Albany

Rev. Bronwen Boswell
Acting Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (USA)

Adwoa Burnley
Clerk of Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

Rev. Laurie Larson Caesar
Bishop, Oregon Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

Reverend LaMarco Cable
Co-Executive
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ (UCC)

Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon
Executive Director
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP)

Bishop Christian Carlassare
Catholic Diocese of Rumbek
South Sudan

Rev. Dr. Iva E. Carruthers
General Secretary
Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference

Sister Janice Cebula
President
Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton, Iowa USA

Raymond Chang
President
Asian American Christian Collaborative

The Right Reverend Christopher Chessun 
Bishop of Southwark 
Church of England 

Rev. Tyler Connoley
Conference Minister 
Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC)

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church (TEC)

Rev. Edward Davis
Conference Minister, Southern Conference
United Church of Christ (UCC)

B. Todd Deatherage
Executive Director and Co-Founder
Telos

Marie Dennis
Co-President (Emeritus)
Pax Christi International

Sister Ricca Dimalibot, MD
Assistant Congregational Leader and General Councilor 
Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Houston

Sister Joan DiProspere
Provincial Councilor
School Sisters of Notre Dame, Central Pacific Province

Bishop Vuyo Dlamini
Methodist Church of Southern Africa

Honorable Assistant Bishop Michael Doe
Anglican Diocese of Southwark

The Rev. Emmett L. Dunn
Executive Secretary-Treasurer/CEO
Lott Carey Foreign Baptist Mission Convention

Alister Dutton
Secretary General 
Caritas Internationalis 

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

Rev. Paul D. Erickson
Bishop, Greater Milwaukee Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

Ann Farr 
Chair 
Pax Christi – England and Wales 

Bishop Gilbert Filter
Cape Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa

Sister Margaret Fitzpatrick 
Congregational Leader
Sisters of Charity, Halifax

Cesar Garcia
General Secretary
Mennonite World Conference

Susan Gunn
Director
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Minister Glen A. Guyton
Executive Director
Mennonite Church USA

Lisa Sharon Harper
President and Founder 
Freedom Road

Linda Haydock, SNJM
Congregation President
Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary

Fr. Lawrence Hayes, OFM
Provincial Minister
Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Bishop Martin Hayes
Bishop
Catholic Diocese of Kilmore

Bruce Henry
Presiding Clerk
Quakers Australia

Rev. Dr. Tessa Henry-Robinson
Moderator of General Assembly 
United Reformed Church 

Ann Graber Hershberger
Executive Director
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.

Sister Teresa Hougnon, MM
President
Maryknoll Sisters of Saint Dominic

Sister Judy Illig
U.S. Leadership Team
Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Right Reverend Dr. John Inge 
Lord Bishop of Worcester
Church of England 

Lisa Jernigan
President
Amplify Peace

Kelly Kellum 
General Secretary 
Friends United Meeting (FUM)

Bishop Donald P. Kreiss
Southeast Michigan Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

Jonathan Kuttab
Executive Director
Friends of Sabeel, North America (FOSNA)

Rt. Rev. Michael Langrish
Bishop Emeritus of Exeter
Church of England 

Anselmo Lee
Co-President
Pax Christi Korea

Bishop Dr. Sox Leleki 
Methodist Church of Southern Africa 

Tim Livesey    
CEO 
Embrace the Middle East

Rev. Dr. David Long-Higgins
Conference Minister, Heartland Conference
United Church of Christ (UCC)

John MacMurray
Founder/Director 
NW School of Theology and The Open Table Conferences

Sister LaDonna Manternach
President
Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Charlotte Marshall    
Director 
Sabeel-Kairos UK

Archbishop MJ Matebane
Bethel Worship House 
Episcopal College of Pentecostal Bishops and Apostles (ECOPBA)

Jarrod McKenna
Pastor and Founding CEO of CommonGrace.org.au
Steeple Church

Very Rev. Andrew McLellan, C.B.E. 
Former Moderator of the General Assembly 
Church of Scotland 

Rev. Dr. Leepo Modise 
Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa

Bridget Moix
General Secretary
Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)

Rev. Mzwandile Molo
General Secretary (Acting)
South African Council of Churches 
The Methodist Church of Southern Africa 

Rev. Shadrack Moloi
Bishop/Moderator
African Presbyterian Bafolisi Church (APBC) 

Bishop Yvette Moses
Cape of Good Hope District
The Methodist Church of Southern Africa 

Father Claude Mostowik, MSC
President 
Pax Christi – Australia 

Rev. Bishop Mamoalusi Vallerie Mothupi
Methodist Church of Southern Africa

Rev. Dr. Lungile Mpetsheni 
General Secretary
The Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa

Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana 
General Secretary, South African Council of Churches 
Ethiopian Episcopal Church, South Africa 

Rev. Gill Newton
President Methodist Conference
Methodist Church in Britain

Archbishop Thami Ngcana
General Secretary
Council of African Independent Churches

Rev. Bishop Sondlile Nkwanyana
The Methodist Church of Southern Africa

Most Reverend William Nolan
Archbishop
Archdiocese of Glasgow

Rev. Moss Ntlha
General Secretary
The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa

Rev. Pumla Nzimande
Presiding Bishop
The Methodist Church of Southern Africa

Father John Oesterle
Board of Directors 
Association of Pittsburgh Priests 

Sister Marilyn Omiecyznski
Unit Leader
Presentation Sisters Union, USA Unit

Rev. Teresa Hord Owens
General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the US and Canada

Rev. Freeman L. Palmer
Conference Minister, Central Atlantic Conference 
United Church of Christ (UCC)

Anne Peacey 
Chair
National Justice and Peace Network – England and Wales 

Mark Pilgram
Chairman
Pax Christi – Munich 

Rev. Dr. Tyrone S. Pitts
General Secretary (Emeritus)
Ecumenical Officer 
Progressive National Baptist Convention Inc.

Rev. David K. Popham
Conference Minister, Hawai‘i Conference 
United Church of Christ (UCC)

Reverend Shari Prestemon
Acting Associate General Minister & Co-Executive for Global Ministries
United Church of Christ (UCC)

Jennifer Preston
General Secretary
Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers)

Cardinal Alvaro Ramazzini 
Bishop of Huehuetenango, Guatemala (Catholic)

Mary Susan Remsgar, OSB
Prioress
Benedictine Sisters of Chicago

Rev. Franz Rigert
Conference Minister, Wisconsin Conference 
United Church of Christ (UCC)

Sister Ceil Roeger
Promoter of Justice, Peace, and Care of Creation 
Dominican Sisters of Houston

Martha Inés Romero
Secretary General
Pax Christi International

Rev. Chris Rose
Director
Amos Trust

Will Rutt
Executive Director
Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center

Richard L. Santos
President & CEO
Church World Service (CWS)

Deacon Kerry Scarlett
Vice-President of Conference
Methodist Church in Britain 

Sister Debra Sciano 
Provincial Leader
School Sisters of Notre Dame 

Sister Maureen Shaughnessy, SC
General Superior
Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth

Rev. Grace Shim
Executive Minister
Serve Globally – Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC)

Bishop Dr. Sidwell Mokgothu
Methodist Church of Southern Africa

Andrea Smith 
Co-Founder and Board Member 
Evangelicals for Justice (E4J)

Rev. David Steele
General Secretary
Church of the Brethren

Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv.
Bishop of Lexington
Catholic Diocese of Lexington
Pax Christi USA

Jean Stokan
Coordinator
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Justice Team

Dr. Jer Swigart
Executive Director
Global Immersion

Rev. Adam Russell Taylor
President 
Sojourners

Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson
General Minister and President
United Church of Christ (UCC)

Dawn Tomaszewski, SP
General Superior
Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana

Nikki Toyama-Szeto
Executive Director
Christians for Social Action (CSA)

The Right Reverend Rachel Treweek
Lord Bishop of Gloucester and Anglican Bishop for HM Prisons
Church of England 

Stephen M. Veazey
President
Community of Christ

Sister Joetta Venneman
Western Province Leadership 
Sisters of Charity of Nazareth 

Rev. John Vertigan
Conference Minister, Florida Conference 
United Church of Christ (UCC)

Sister Genevieve-Marie Vigil
Provincial Superior
Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny

Jim Wallis
Chair and Director
Center on Faith and Justice at Georgetown University

Colin P. Watson, Sr.
Executive Director (Emeritus) 
Christian Reformed Church of North America (CRCNA)

Julie Watson
Congregational Leader
Union of Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Sister Kathy Wiesneski
Councilor, USA Province
Holy Cross Sisters

Sister Rita A. Wigginton
Councilor
Ursuline Sisters of Louisville, KY

Terry Wildman
Chief Director/President
Rain Ministries Inc.

Bishop Louis Williams
Methodist Church of Southern Africa

The Very Reverend John Witcombe
Dean of Coventry
Church of England

Very Rev. Thomas Zain
Vicar General
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

Mary T. Yelenick
Main Representative to the United Nations 
Pax Christi International 

Alfonso Zardi
Délégué Général of Pax Christi France

Rev. Dr. Elijah R. Zehyoue 
Co-Director 
Alliance of Baptists 

Johnny Zokovitch
Executive Director
Pax Christi USA

Additional Signatories 

Katie Metres Akbar 
CMEP Board Representative 
Alliance of Baptist 

Mercy Aiken 
NEME Manager
Network of Evangelicals for the Middle East 

Rev. Dr. John Anderson 
Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN), PCUSA – Bay Area

Robert Atchison
Chair
Menno – Palestine/Israel Network (PIN)

Rev. Harry J. Bury
Professor Emeritus
Twin Cities Nonviolent

Rev. Dr. Rob Dalrymple
Executive Director 
Determinetruth

Dr. Andrew DeCort
Founding Director 
Institute of Faith and Flourishing 

George Devendorf
CMEP Board Representative
Senior Director, External Relations
Church World Service (CWS)

Eduardo Dueri 
Christian Life Community 
Columbia 

Hassan El-Tayyab
CMEP Board Representative
Legislative Director for Middle East Policy
Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)

Rev. Dr. Nathan Hosler
CMEP Board Representative
Director, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy
Church of the Brethren 

Sister Helen J. Jaeb
School Sisters of Notre Dame

Grace Keane, OSF
Director Parish Social Ministry
St. Mary of the Hills Catholic Church

Bishop Steven Kellogg
CMEP Board Representative
Community of Christ

Dr. Peter Makari
CMEP Board Representative
Global Relations Minister for the Middle East and Europe
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and 
United Church of Christ (UCC)

Sister Carolina Pardo
Socio-eco justice and peace-making office
Sisters of Saint Francis, Rochester Minnesota USA

Rev. Joe Roos
Friends of Sabeel, North America (FOSNA)

Carolina Sanchez 
Christian Life Community
Columbia

Michael J. Sloboda MM
Asst. Pastor, Rosary Church, Kowloon
Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America

Dr. Rob Trawick
Co-Moderator
Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Rev. Susan P. Wilder
Co-Moderator
Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)


The hundreds of additional signatories from around the world who added their after the release of this statement can be found at this page.

Take action, and sign this letter!