CRCNA Leaders Among Those to Sign Churches for Middle East Peace Advocacy Letter

CRCNA Leaders Among Those to Sign Churches for Middle East Peace Advocacy Letter
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Three senior ministry leaders in the Christian Reformed Church in North America signed their names to an eccumenical letter distributed by the Churches for Middle East Peace on Thursday (May 20) calling for an “immediate ceasefire” in Israel/Palestine. Addressed to members of the United Nations Security Council, the letter is signed by more than 50 church and ministry leaders from Europe and North America. A ceasefire was agreed to that day and has been in place since Friday. A statement on the organization’s website May 21 reads “We at Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) welcome the ceasefire and pray it holds. A ceasefire, however, is not enough. CMEP will continue to advocate for U.S. policies that will help result in a just and lasting end to the conflict in Israel/Palestine.”

The Christian Reformed Church in North America is a member of CMEP. Colin Watson Sr., serving as the CRCNA’s executive director, and the two national directors of Word Renew, Ida Kaastra-Mutoigo in Canada and Carol Bremer-Bennett in the U.S., were among more than 50 leaders to sign the May 20 letter.

Bremer-Bennett told The Banner, We stand against any violent conflict that is harming people's lives, especially civilians and children. We are working in the region for peacebuilding and respect of human life and dignity. We must stand for peaceful and just resolutions to these conflicts.” 

The letter reflects concern over decades of “de facto annexation” by Israel throughout the West Bank. Previous advocacy letters from Churches for Middle East Peace have also condemned annexation.

In March CMEP wrote to U.S. President Joe Biden addressing Middle East policy recommendations, including an urge to “cultivate conditions for a future negotiated peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.” Watson also signed that letter.

Kaastra-Mutoigo said, “With World Renew's mandate from the CRCNA as a diaconal arm of the church to do justice and mercy, this situation that has gained much media attention is one that needs us to be present and standing in solidarity with those who suffer most and whose voices are not being heard well.”

For background on how the Christian Reformed Church, through its Office of Social Justice, has responded to work on Middle East Peace, see justice.crcna.org/middle-east-peace-church-speaks.

About the Author

Alissa Vernon is the news editor for The Banner.

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Comments

Exactly how and where has Synod authorized its agents to take this particular multi-point political action/stance in behalf of CRC members?  World Renew (via  Carol Bremer-Bennett) may do as it decides, it being a separate entity from the CRCNA, but such is not the case with the CRCNA Exective Director. 

BTW, I only see one signatory from the CRCNA on the letter (two if World Renew is counted), not three.

Is Palestine a country?  Not that I am aware of. Not now, nor anytime. The heavily Arab influenced UN bestowed statehood on it in 1988, but only 135 countries recognize that statehood. The US is not one of them. Couple this error with the whole idea that Israel is the bully is ludicrious. Arabs have attacked Israel countless times over the span of the last several decades and in each instance, the Israelis have beaten them. History is colored by the epic of conquest and in each case, Israel has been the victor, so it is really hard for Arabs or Palestinians to lay claim to any land. Also historically, the Palestinians have broken EVERY cease fire and negotiated agreement, so I am not sure why our staff would feel moved to try again. Again, the CRC is on the wrong side of the ledger.

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