The World Council of Churches (WCC) is calling for Christians all over the world, while they are celebrating the feast of Pentecost, to join in a prayer for justice and peace on Monday, 5 June.
The prayer, initiated by church leaders in Jerusalem, is being held 50 years after Israel began its occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights after a six-day war in 1967 by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.
Representing over half a billion Christians in more than 110 countries, the WCC plays a significant role as an advocate for justice and peace.
Praising Holy Land church leaders for bringing Christians together in a global prayer, WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit sees the initiative as an affirmation of hope, unity and commitment to justice and peace in Palestine and Israel.
“It is a call on Christians everywhere to share in our witness to unity and to make this moment of prayer truly participatory,” he said.
Through the support of its member churches in the region, and interreligious dialogue with other faith-based organizations, the WCC has a long history of engagement for justice and peace in Palestine and Israel.
“We will continue our efforts in solidarity with all peace seeking people suffering under occupation and we will never give up our hopes for a just peace in the region”, said Tveit.
The Peace Prayer service, which also follows the Pentecost celebrations, takes place at 11 a.m. on Monday, 5 June at the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem.
“This year at Pentecost we have an opportunity to pray for the unity of the church and for just peace in the Holy Land, for the region of the Middle East, and for the other places in the world that are troubled by conflict and war,” noted Tveit.
Among the prayers is one by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who says, “Almighty Father, who created all things out of love and fashioned all people in your image, who sent your only Son for the life of the world, to bring light to those dwelling in darkness: look down from the heavens and hear our prayer for unity and peace.”