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Bishops Write Regarding Gaza War – “We are called to protect the most ulnerable”

March 2, 2024

BIshops Heyd, Shin and Glasspool today wrote to the people of the Diocese of New York, as follows:

We write from the House of Bishops meeting in Texas as our communities across the Diocese of New York prepare to gather tomorrow.

Thursday’s deadly attack on Palestinians in Gaza left hundreds dead, more wounded, and the world again stunned by the ferocity of the Israel-Gaza war.

Those killed were scrambling for food from humanitarian workers.

We believe we are all fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God— everyone, regardless of their background or beliefs, deserves our compassion and care.

We are called to protect the most vulnerable in our societies.

This war is overwhelming. The October 7 attacks and hostage taking by Hamas were vicious and unconscionable. The response by the Netanyahu government has left Gaza devastated and the West Bank starving. Our Anglican hospital in Gaza has been disrupted and occupied by Israeli Defense Forces.

The war also further escalated anti-Semitic and anti-Palestinian acts in our own neighborhoods across the Diocese of New York.

There are strong and divergent points of view about the war and even how a just resolution would look.

We should always speak with humility— and we should speak to the foundations of our faith. As Christians, our baptism sends us into the world to witness to God’s love.

• We continue to condemn the atrocities committed against Israelis on October 7 and the hostage taking by Hamas.

• We join with the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem to condemn Thursday’s attack and all violence against non-combatants in Gaza and the West Bank. Attacks on non-combatants and disruption of humanitarian aid can never be justified.

• We join the Presiding Bishop’s call for a ceasefirefor the release of hostages and to allow humanitarian aid to reach everyone displaced by the war.

• We join with our Jewish and Palestinian neighbors in New York to denounce hate speech and violence here in our own neighborhoods.

We will continue this conversation in New York in the coming weeks and hope that our House of Bishops and the whole Episcopal Church will continue also as we approach General Convention this summer.

May God bless you in your gatherings and prayers tomorrow.
The Rt. Rev. Matthew Heyd
Bishop of New York

The Rt. Rev. Allen K. Shin
Bishop Suffragan

The Rt. Rev. Mary D. Glasspool
Bishop Assistant