The Catholic Church in England and Wales is among those joining a day of prayer, penance and fasting for peace in the Holy Land on Friday. It follows Pope Francis deploring the humanitarian situation in Gaza, fearing the possibility of the conflict’s expansion, and inviting all Christians to pray and fast for peace on 27 October. Pax Christi England and Wales produced prayer cards while Cafod organised an online gathering to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.
Cafod and Sciaf in Scotland are running emergency appeals for victims of violence, working with local organisations such as Caritas Jerusalem. Cafod joined 11 other major humanitarian agencies in calling for the UK government to use its influence to help protect civilians caught up in the conflict and bring an end to the fighting. Cafod also asked supporters to write to Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, urging the UK to play its part in upholding international law, ensuring humanitarian aid can reach people in need and working with other world leaders for peace.
On Monday, representatives of 13 Christian organisations and more than 700 church members and leaders signed an open letter from the Network of Christian Peace Organisations,to Cleverly about the escalating violence. They called on the Foreign Secretary to promote “de-escalation and dialogue” and urged lasting non-military solutions to peace. They also recognised that the conflict has and will increase anti-semitic and Islamophobic acts in the UK.
Signatories included Pax Christi, Methodist Peace Fellowship, Anglican Pacifist Fellowship, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Ekklesia, Quakers in Britain, Northern Friends Peace Board, Community of Christ, Sabeel-Kairos UK, Church and Peace, The Iona Community, Cymdeithas y Cymod and Christian CND, Tertiary Order of St Francis (Justice and Peace Committee).
Pax Christi England and Wales has backed calls by UN Secretary General António Guterres and UN Human Rights Chief, Volker Türk, for a humanitarian ceasefire. It has also asked supporters to urge their MPs to sign a parliamentary motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and the immediate delivery of aid, condemning both Hamas massacres and Israel's collective punishment of Palestinians. Christian groups such as Quakers joined last Saturday’s rally in London, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.