ELCA presiding bishop issues statement on Syria
"Give God no rest" (Isaiah 62:6-7) until that day when "the wolf and the lamb shall feed together. ... They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord" (Isaiah 65:25) (ELCA social statement, "For Peace in God's World").
In recent days we have witnessed, with additional horror, further atrocities in Syria in a conflict that has taken almost countless lives over the past seven years and displaced millions of Syrians and others.
Following the April 13 air strikes conducted by the armed forces of the United States, the United Kingdom and France, the president and the general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation issued a statement that I encourage ELCA members to read and prayerfully consider.
Our church is responding to the needs of Syrian refugees and displaced people through the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), in coordination with ACT Alliance (formerly Action by Churches Together). The IOCC has been assisting those in need in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan to ensure food security, establish shelter, and provide better access to water and sanitation facilities, among other activities. LWF-Jordan is working with Syrian refugees and host communities in Amman, Mafraq, Irbid and in the Zaatari refugee camp, bolstering livelihoods through cash transfers and skills training in agriculture practices and improved technologies for vegetable production in home gardens to benefit malnourished children, pregnant and lactating women, and sick people. They are also providing psychosocial support, particularly among women. We plan to continue and intensify this work.
In the face of this ongoing humanitarian crisis, our nation also needs to open its arms again to receive Syrian refugees for resettlement in the United States. We will continue to work in ecumenical partnership as we pray, advocate and work to receive refugees.
Last, but not least, our government, as part of the international community, needs to redouble its efforts to work diligently for a diplomatic resolution of this conflict. As U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said earlier this weekend, "There is no military solution to the crisis. The solution must be political."
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America