United Church Moderator Calls for a Ceasefire in Gaza

    TORONTO, Jan. 5 /CNW/ - In a statement released today, the Moderator of
The United Church of Canada is calling for an immediate ceasefire to end the
current violence in the Middle East.
    "The United Church of Canada has consistently expressed its deep concern
about the ongoing occupation of Palestinian territories, and about the
violence committed by both Israelis and Palestinians," says the Moderator, the
Right Rev. David Giuliano.
    "The current crisis in Gaza is a tragic consequence of the hatred and
hostility bred by the occupation. Peace cannot be achieved through violence.
Instead, it leads to greater suffering and increased hatred and continues the
cycle of violence," says Giuliano.
    "The teachings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are rooted in love,
peace, and justice," says Giuliano. "I invite all religious leaders to join
hearts to witness to those roots through prayer and action for peace. As faith
leaders, let us demonstrate that religion is a force for life, not death, in
the world."
    In condemning the violence that has led to death and suffering for both
Palestinians and Israelis, the Moderator echoes the call for a ceasefire by
the church's partners in Palestine and Israel.
    "The United Church stands together with our Israeli and Palestinian
friends who continue to call for meaningful negotiations within the framework
of international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions, leading to a
just and lasting peace for Palestinians and Israelis," says Giuliano.
    The United Church of Canada has strong links with both Palestinian and
Israeli partners. For over five decades, churches in Canada have supported the
Near East Council of Churches in Gaza, which works to provide key services
(particularly medical care and job training) and build up civil society.
    Since 2006, Gaza has been suffering a humanitarian catastrophe as a
result of the economic blockade that is leaving people without water, food,
electricity, fuel, shelter, or adequate health care.
    "As children, women, and men struggle for life under occupation, economic
siege, and military action, an immediate ceasefire must be implemented and
unrestricted access to humanitarian relief provided," comments Giuliano.
    The Moderator urges all United Church members and adherents to

    -   pray for peace in the Holy Land
    -   enable the work of United Church partners by contributing to the
        United for Peace Campaign or increasing support to the Mission and
        Service Fund
    -   help to provide humanitarian relief by earmarking a designated
        donation to the Action by Churches Together (ACT) appeal for Gaza.
        Individuals can either donate online or mail cheques, made payable to
        The United Church of Canada and marked "ACT: Gaza", to Financial
        Services Unit, The United Church of Canada, 3250 Bloor St. West,
        Suite 300, Toronto, ON, M8X 2Y4. (More detail on the United Church
        website: www.united-church.ca.)
    -   participate in efforts to seek a lasting peace through dialogue and
        action for justice

For further information:

For further information: Mary-Frances Denis, Communications Officer, The
United Church of Canada, (416) 231-7680 ext. 2016 (office), 1-800-268-3781
ext. 2016 (toll-free), (416) 885-7478 (cell), (416) 766-0057 (home),

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