Message to the Heads of Jerusalem Churches

From Churches Together in Britain and Ireland
12 April 2002

Greetings in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

We are writing as members of the ecumenical delegation which visited the Middle East for two weeks in March 2001 under the auspices of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. We spent the week of 17-24 March in Israel-Palestine. During that time we were privileged to meet several leaders of the Jerusalem churches as well as political, diplomatic, church and non-governmental representatives.

In the report of that visit, "Who is my neighbour?" we recorded the haunting words of Archimandrite Cornelius, "Delegations come, delegations go, nothing ever changes". We brought these words back to the UK and Ireland and shared them in our churches, being mindful of the role Britain played in helping to create the conditions for long-term conflict in the land we call "holy".

Since our visit we have tried in ways that have been open to us to contribute to the quest for a just peace in the region. We are always conscious of the inadequacy of our efforts. We nevertheless hold you and your churches in our prayers.

In these dark days, when the crisis has descended to a level which we never dreamt possible, we send you this message of comfort and support, thanking God for the witness which you make in the city over which Jesus wept - and still weeps.

It is our fervent hope that the Powell mission will bring a sea-change to this desperate situation, though it is too much to say that we are optimistic. In the meantime we are maintaining dialogue with the British
and Irish Governments on ways by which they may contribute to the achievement of a ceasefire and rapid movement through negotiation to a conclusive settlement that ushers in an era of peace and security for Palestinians and Israelis alike.

With every good wish and continuing prayers,

Yours sincerely,

Very Rev.Dr.Robert Davidson Church of Scotland
Rev. Frederick George Baptist Union
Rev. Christopher Gillham Congregational Federation
Ms. Gillian Kingston Methodist Church, Ireland
Rev. Sigrid Marten Church of Scotland
Mr. Paul Renshaw Churches Together in Britain & Ireland
Rev.Dr.Frank Turner SJ Catholic Bishops' Conference, England and Wales
Rev. John Waller United Reformed Church